Sun City was developed by the hotel magnate Sol Kerzner as part of what would become his Sun International group of properties. It was officially opened on 7 December 1979; at the time it was located in the Homeland (formerly called a Bantustan) of Bophuthatswana.
As Bophuthatswana had been declared an independent state by South Africa's apartheid government (although unrecognized as such by any other country), it was allowed under the South African law at the time to provide entertainment such as gambling and topless revue shows, (e.g. the famous "Sun City Extravaganzas").
As a theatrical venue
The complex gradually developed a number of entertainement and performance venues, including the Sun City Super Bowl , the Galaxy Revue Bar, *
Anthony Farmer designed the theatre. Their opening production was designed and directed by Anthony Farmer with choreography by Nick Navarro, costume design by Neels Hansen and Adolpho Waitzman leading the musical team. It opened on the 15 December 1979.
The Superbowl opened in July 1981. The Galaxy Revue Bar also opened in 1981. Bedazzled, staged by Joan Brickhill and Louis Burke starred Tanya the elephant and was staged in 1981.
Anthony Farmer, Nick Navarro and Adolpho Waitzman created the extravaganza called Stars here in 1984. Movin’ starring Sam Marais and Natalia da Rocha was staged here in 1987. Celebration was their 1989 extravaganza. Bravo starring Judy Page was their 1990 extravaganza. Carlo Spetto presented Escapades here in 1992.
Sun City Super Bowl
A large auditorium which seats 6,230, used for large entertainemnt events dfrom Boxing and Miss World pagheants to Ice shows, huge musicals and pop concerts.
It opened on 24 July 1981 with a performance by Frank Sinatra.
Notably it has become the place where huge international theatre events are offered, which were banned in South Africa. These include ***
Many famous performers also performed there in concert at the Sun City Super Bowl, including Dame Kiri Janette Te Kanawa, Elaine Page, Frank Sinatra, Queen, Elton John, Sarah Brightman, Julio Iglesias, The O'Jays, Ray Charles, Boney M., Black Sabbath, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, Laura Branigan and Thomas Anders (of Modern Talking fame).
Theatrical shows put on after Apartheid include ***
The Galaxy Revue Bar
An intimate venue opened in 1981.
Its symbolic role
Sun City became the subject of considerable controversy in 1985 when E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt made it the focus of his music-industry activist group, Artists United Against Apartheid. Forty-nine top recording artists collaborated on a song called "Sun City", in which they pledged they would never perform at the resort. Additionally, Simple Minds, on their double-live set album "Live in the City of Light" released in 1987, included a song called "Love Song - Sun City - Dance to the Music" in which they declare "I ain't gonna play Sun City."
Sun City continued to flourish when Bophutatswana was re-incorporated in the new South Africa as part of the Northwestern province in 1994.
The resort now has four hotels, two international-standard 18-hole golf courses,and a variety of entertainment venues where it has continued to host various concerts, musical theatre, cultural and other entertainment events.
Percy Tucker, 1997
For more information
Go the the Sun City official website at http://www.suninternational.com/sun-city/
Return to South African Theatre Venues, Companies, Societies, etc
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page