Theatre focus: Sugar-daddy theatre company, Cape Town, South Africa celebrates 10 years and looks forward to new projects

Company: Sugar-daddy -independent theatre company Country: South Africa Operation: Project to project basis, with sponsors on board to assist with production costs (rights, venue hire etc) Flagship production: V-Day – annual staging Eve Ensler’s works, with proceeds to Rape Crisis To contact Sugar-daddy: Lizanne Peters on  Sugar Tube: Instagram: @sugardaddytheatreco Facebook:  

This year- 2020- marks the 10th anniversary of Cape Town’s innovative independent theatre company, Sugar-daddy. Marlisa Doubell who founded the company with other creatives, is handing over to Lizanne Peters. The ethos behind Sugar-daddy is to gather in ‘sugar daddies and mommies’ to assist with production costs such as rights to plays, venue hire, sets and salaries for actors and creative team. This model has facilitated the staging of acclaimed plays in Cape Town – seasons which would not have been feasible without the generous benefactors and funders. Here is the info, as supplied by Sugar-daddy.

Sugar-daddy theatre company – celebrating its first decade – and looking forward to new projects:

As the year draws to a close the Sugar-daddy theatre company officially welcomes Lizanne Peters in as its newly appointed producer and bids a heartfelt farewell to founder and producer Marlisa Doubell. Marlisa has temporally relocated, with her family to the UK. It is envisaged that she will be based in London for five years. She will take a step back but has pledged financial support and guidance to the company and will travel to South Africa and provide mentorship for Sugar-daddy, when possible and depending on lockdown regulations in the UK and SA.

Over the past decade [2010 to 2020], Marlisa helped to find sponsorship from local businesses -hence the company’s name Sugar-daddy. ‘’Without our generous sponsors or our ‘sugar-moms and dads, independent theatre would not be possible”, affirms Doubell. “Also, we like to think our work ‘pays it forward’ so to speak, with our many contributions to our community.” The signature sponsors that have actively supported and encouraged Sugar-daddy under Marlisa’s watch are: Hipzone, Viadex, The Leisure Hotels Group, Inner City Ideas Cartel, Startupbootcamp, Devine Interventions and Act Cape Town. “There is also a long list of smaller contributors from various local businesses. We thank them all.”

Marlisa founded Sugar-daddy in 2010, along with a group of actor friends. They used the phrase- ‘For actors by actors’. They credit Professor Chris Weare for initially encouraging them to feel at home at the Intimate Theatre, Hiddingh Campus [2010 to 2014]. At The Intimate Theatre, Marlisa produced The Blue Room, by David Hare, Line, by Israel Horovitz, Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet and I am Hamlet, by Richard James. In 2013, Sugar-daddy received The People’s Choice Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for I am Hamlet.

Hiddingh Campus was the venue for a few of Doubell’s own plays such as Relationshit and Lady Luck. After the demise of The Intimate, Sugar-daddy moved over, along with many independent artists to the then Alexander Bar. At Alexander, Sugar-daddy staged Athol Fugard’s acclaimed play, Hello and Goodbye and Thirst by Eugene O’Neil. The launch of V-Day in South Africa (, also took place at Alexander Bar [now The Courtyard]. Marlisa: “Something incredible happened next. Sugar-daddy doubled its female following and was forced to find a larger venue. As luck would have it, in 2018, we were invited to occupy the Foundry’s pop-up theatre space in Green Point, with backing from sponsors, ICIC.”

In 2019 Sugar-daddy brought the Broadway play, Blueberry Toast by Mary Laws to the Artscape Arena. Link to review follows, scroll down.

To celebrate its decade in theatre, Sugar-daddy was due to open a run of Harold Pinter’s award winning play Betrayal in May 2020, at Artscape. There was a tremendous buzz in anticipation of this staging. Sadly the run was postponed because of Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions. In February 2020, shortly before lockdown, Sugar-daddy showcased Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues which took place as part of her global V-Day campaign and raised over R10 000 (10 thousand Rand) for Rape Crisis. The season was sold out. This was before the pandemic arrived in South Africa and we could sit and watch theatre in a packed venue. Luckily, a performance was filmed and during lockdown, Sugar-daddy put the film up on SugarTube- its YouTube Channel. It is available at no charge for viewing but donations to Rape Crisis SA, would be appreciated. Link follows to the recording and the donate link.

Lizanne Peters plans to continue with V-Day annually and maintain and build the loyal female strong following for Sugar-daddy. Lizanne produced and managed Sugar Slam – an online monologue competition which was flighted from June to August 2020. The competition was conceptualised organised by Sugar-daddy to support actors and writers during the lockdown winter period. In addition to providing monetary relief, Sugar Slam was a vital platform for creatives to showcase their work. Cash prizes were awarded and the entries were loaded on to Sugar Tube – the company’s YouTube Channel. The entries are archived on Sugar Tube.

Over the years Sugar-daddy has been credited with supporting local talent in various ways. Marlisa Doubell had a policy in place – to always take a chance on “new talent” and “new faces”. She adds: “Lizanne will no doubt continue to support new and diverse talent where possible, either on stage or behind the scenes. Many artists speak highly of their experience with Sugar-daddy and some credit it for a breakthrough in their stage career.” Marlisa has always believed that meaningful theatre work can change the world. She says: “If even the smallest difference has been made to our local industry and community through our contribution over this past decade, then that would have been worth it.”

Sugar-daddy theatre company, Cape Town, South Africa – performance history:  

2010 Blue Room by David Hare, Intimate Theatre, director Yvonne Copley
2010 Relationshit! by Marlisa Doubell, Intimate Theatre, director Marlisa Doubell
2011 Relationshit! By Marlisa Doubell, Arena Theatre, director Marlisa Doubell
2012 Line by Israel Horovitz, The Little Theatre, director Yvonne Copley
2012 I am Hamlet by Richard James, The Intimate Theatre, director Patrick Walton2013
Lady Luck by Marlisa Doubell, The Intimate Theatre, director Yvonne Copley
2013 Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet, The Intimate Theatre, director Chris Weare
2014 Hello & Goodbye by Athol Fugard, The Alexander Bar, director Chris Weare
2016/2017 The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (V-Day partnership), Cape Town Fringe Festival: Cape Town City Hall/Alexander Bar Cafe/The Masque Theatre/ ICI Corporate Auditorium at De Waterkant/ The Drama Factory- director Marlisa Doubell
2017 Thirst by Eugene O’Neil, Cape Town Fringe Festival/The Alexander Bar/The Masque Theatre/The ICI Foundry/The Drama Factory, director Sue Diepeveen
2018/19 A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer by Eve Ensler (V-Day partnership), The Alexander Bar/The Masque Theatre//The Drama Factory, director Tamryn Speirs
2018/19 Blueberry Toast by Mary Laws, The ICI Foundry/Artscape Arena, director Sue Diepeveen
2020 The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (V-Day partnership), The Raptor Room, director Marlisa Doubell

Recording: Sugar-daddy Theatre’s innovative staging of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, Cape Town, February 2020.

Viewing platform: Sugar Tube [YouTube Tickets: No charge to watch but donations appreciated. Suggested donation: R60 – this was the ticket price of the live show, Feb 2020
Donation link: Rape Crisis    

2020- marks the 10th anniversary of Cape Town’s innovative independent theatre company, Sugar-daddy. Marlisa Doubell who founded the company with other creatives, is handing over to Lizanne Peters.
Lizanne Peters- taking over the operations of Sugar-daddy theatre company, Cape Town, South Africa. Supplied.
In 2013, Sugar-daddy received The People’s Choice Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for I am Hamlet. Left to right: Leon Clingman, Patrick Walton, Aidan Whytock and Marlisa Doubell. Supplied.

❇ Promoted post.

Related coverage of Sugar-daddy theatre company, Cape Town, South Africa on TheCapeRobyn