Tea with Matt Counihan

Venue:  Lattelicious,Shop L43, Nelson Mandela Square, Cnr 5th Street and Maude Street, Bedfordview, Johannesburg, 2146, South Africa Phone: +27 11 784 3330  Open from· 6:30AM–8PM.  While nothing else is extraordinary about this venue, it is extraordinarily user friendly for frail or disabled people.  There is parking for the disabled below the venue, lifts up to the venue, a parking garage pay point right at the lifts and the venue itself is easily accessible.  No distance at all and no steps.  Tea is served properly in a pot steeped with the teabag.  Cold milk (I did request it) provided.


Matthew Counihan

I first “met” Matthew Counihan some years ago as a student performer at UJ and predicted a bright future for him.  He has certainly made that come true.  It was lovely to catch up with him and hear all about what he is doing and what he plans to do.  For a start, he has wonderful manners.  He arrived promptly and pulled my chair out for me (and pushed it back when I left).  I’m old.  I like that.  It tells me he was nicely raised.  He speaks with great fondness of his mother.  I like that too.  It tells me much about her as well.

“Chatty Matty” and Alan Ford co-host a radio show on CliffCentral.

We talk a bit about the current production of Saturday Night Fever at the State Theatre in Pretoria.  We agree that Kiruna Lind Devar was marvellous.  Counihan was in a previous production of Saturday Night Fever at The Lyric.  I hated that, but apparently I did say nice things about him. I’m not surprised.  I’ve always had a soft spot for him, but I don’t tell him that.

We are really meeting to talk about #Redfest at Redhill School on 7 and 8 October.  Redhill is a private school which has recently employed Joseph Gerassi as headmaster.  Smart move.  Gerassi is interested in the whole child and this includes cultural development. He hired Matt Counihan to oversee the arts programme with the title “Director of Visual and Performing Arts”. This is an inaugural festival and it is starting small.  One of the major differences between #Redfest and #FestivalOfFame (National School of the Arts) is that #Redfest caters to a much broader spectrum in terms of age, and accordingly they have partnered with Assitej.

Counihan is excited about the project with is all about incubating passion and excitement in audiences as well as performers.  The public aspect of the festival is really suitable for the whole family.


The ASSITEJ SA showcase will present productions ‘Dream Big’ (AltEye Productions), ‘The Lighthouse’ (AltEye Productions), ‘Walking Tall’ (PAST), and ‘Sex and Me’ (Clara Vaughan and Craig Morris) which are under consideration for award nomination. The categories for which these shows are under consideration are the “Naledi Theatre Award for Best Production for Children (0 – 12)” and “Naledi Theatre Award for Best Production for Young Audiences” (13 – 17)”.

Redhill School are presenting ‘Dotted Line’ (by The Actors Unemployed Company (AUC), ‘Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny’ (Craig Morris of Untouchable Productions), and ‘Woza Albert (Mncedisi Shabangu and Hamilton Dlamini), to create the youth-focussed festival “RedFest” with the view to create a collaborative nature between its arts students and the greater professional arts industry.

In line with this vision, ‘Redfest’ has integrated a Professional Development component to its youth-focussed festival in addition to the ASSITEJ SA / Naledi Showcase. On 7 October, arts organisation “The Framework” will run a workshop for Creative Arts, Dramatic Arts and English teachers on teaching Shakespeare, followed by an Arts Education panel discussion with formidable arts giants, Ismail Mahomed, Bernard Jay, Chris Avant-Smith and Sylvaine Strike facilitated by Khutjo Green before the opening performance of the absurd physical theatre piece, ‘Whistle Stop’ directed by Frances Slabolepzy.

Redhill have also made a space for young people to perform by introducing a Classical Guitar Competition for learners up to a Grade 8 level and a mass music orchestral workshop and performance with pupils from Redhill, the Music Enlightenment Project (MEP), the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and Northside Primary School from Botswana which will take place on the Saturday of the festival.  Proceeds from the orchestral workshop will go to the MEP.

Tickets can be found on Webtickets at R60 a show.

Once we have dealt with the business of the #Redfest, we go back to chatting generally.  Counihan loves cooking, and eating even more.  Recently he was planning a move to the UK, but that fell through.  His material possessions were all abandoned, given away or sold in preparation for the move and Counihan now feels as if his life has been decluttered.

His dream for the future is to take a group of students from Redhill to the Edinburgh Festival one August School Holidays, however, in the immediate present work is summoning us both and we have to terminate our tea party for real life.

I wish #Redfest well for 8 October and Counihan well for the future plans for Redfest and for a visit to the Edinburgh Festival.



About moirads

Clergy person, theatre and music lover, avid reader, foodie. Basically, I write about what I do, where I go and things I love (or hate).
This entry was posted in Children's Theatre, Food, Theatre. Bookmark the permalink.

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