Beginners On Stage … Ask Miss B

The Ultimate Guide to Running a Theatre

Written by Debra Batzofin

Commissioned some years ago by Ismail Mahomed to write a book to assist students, Debra could not be happier that she has come full circle with the book now being available to all students via the Market Theatre website at no cost.


Managing a theatre can be a daunting prospect. Budgets, contracts, staff, technical equipment, marketing, maintenance, ticketing… the list goes on. And that is not even mentioning the creative egos!

Fortunately, help is at hand. Debra Batzofin, a seasoned theatre manager and administrator with 46 years’ experience in the South African and international entertainment industry, has written an indispensable guide to operating a venue.

Titled Beginners on Stage …. Ask Miss B, this industry handbook concisely sets out all you need to know about managing a theatre. From legalities and labour issues to the nuts and bolts of dealing with outside producers, Batzofin covers it all.

Far from being a staid handbook, it includes useful practical examples supplemented by friendly advice drawn from her many years of working in all aspects of the performing arts. Beginners on Stage …. Ask Miss B is an essential tool to help newcomers (and even professionals) navigate the minefield of theatre management with success and confidence.

About Debra Batzofin (Miss B)

Debra has been General Manager for “Trevor Noah: There’s a Gupta on my Stoep”, John Edward, international psychic medium, “Winnie the Opera”, “Saturday Night Fever” and “Hairspray”. She was the producer for “Road to MAMA”, MTV, “NickFest” for Nickelodeon, “Comedy Central international Comedy Festival”, The Loeries international “DStv Seminar of Creativity”, to name but a few.

Debra now adds a new string to her bow with the management of Loyiso Madinga, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning comedian.

Since starting her theatre career in 1973, Debra has worked with top managements in all aspects of theatre, film and television. In 1983 she joined forces with Richard Loring to form one of the most successful independent theatre companies in South Africa. Career highlights with Richard Loring include a Persian Gulf tour of “A Touch of Webber – A Taste of Rice” and the Royal Command Performance of “Girl Talk” in Malaysia. At the Sound Stage, Debbie co-directed “Girl Talk – Nite Out” and “Yellow Brick Road” for which she received a Vita nomination. “African Footprint” highlights as Associate Producer and Company/Tour Manager: Millennium Night on Robben Island; 2000 Royal Command Performance at St James’ Palace, London; and Monte Carlo Sporting Club’s 30th Anniversary performance. Debra joined Gold Reef City’s team which built both the Globe Theatre and Lyric Theatre and she headed up the Lyric Theatre team for 3 years. Most recent events include: Global Citizens Concert, South Africa and taking African Footprint to Dubai Global Village for a one-month season.

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