ABBA story reopens Arts Theatre after three-month closure

Daniel Anderson and Kerry Hiles will give an ABBA-inspired performance that tells the story of the supergroup for one night only at the Arts Theatre in East London. Picture: SUPPLIED
BELTING IT OUT: Daniel Anderson and Kerry Hiles will give an ABBA-inspired performance that tells the story of the supergroup for one night only at the Arts Theatre in East London. Picture: SUPPLIED

More than 100 days without performing live has been a bit too much to handle for local theatre aficionados Kerry Hiles and Daniel Anderson. 

And as such the talented pair will be presenting an ABBA-inspired show on Wednesday night at the Arts Theatre in Arcadia, East London for those who — like Hiles and Anderson — have missed their regular dose of theatre during lockdown.

This will be East London’s first live theatre performance since theatres, restaurants and cinemas were locked down in late March.

The show will see Hiles and Anderson retell the story of Swedish pop sensation and world-famous supergroup ABBA.

Through songs, skits and dialogue, Hiles and Anderson will cover everything from ABBA’s rise to fame winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972, to their time in the spotlight and their unravelling a short 10 years later.

“I think the most immediate answer would be that one can simply never get enough of ABBA! But the truth is that ABBA’s music is so often used as a vehicle to make up a tribute concert or to tell another story, as it is in Mamma Mia!, but no-one talks about the actual guys and gals behind this iconic music,” said Anderson when asked why the duo had picked ABBA’s story.

Hiles said it felt right to present something that could appeal to all generations.

“ABBA is well-known, light, happy music. I think we all need a bit of that in our lives at the moment,” she said.

Working on a script and rehearsing with Hiles for the past four weeks, Anderson said the show, titled Super Troupers, initially came about as a response and in an effort to raise funds for Wild Coast FM’s Legacy Fund initiative.

“The fund collects cash, non-perishable food items and winter clothes to help those who need it during this time,” Anderson explained.

“The inspiration is now a broader one: so many artists helped keep the morale high during the harder days of lockdown, this is the first opportunity people have to give a little back to the arts. Our show will be the first of many to come at the Arts Theatre during this trying time, as we officially launch the venue as one that is ready and able to entertain audiences in a safe way.”

Following Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the theatre will accommodate only 40 audience members with social distancing seating arrangements and temperature screenings in place. The performance will also be made available online via Quicket for audiences at home.

Anderson said while everyone knew the music of ABBA, not many knew much about the four people behind it and this was the story he and Hiles hoped to share.

“Audiences can expect an experience of learning and, so I believe, gaining an all-new level of respect for the music. I also think that while the show is informative, it is quite moving because the songs seem to fit quite seamlessly into the tapestry of what was going on in their lives,” he said.

Both performers said they were excited to get back on stage and share a theatre space with audience members once again.

“Storytelling is one of the most instinctive things about people. We’ve done it since the dawn of humanity. I am so excited to be able to get back to this ‘deepest inclination of my heart’ and to be able to share one of the experiences that makes us human, with fellow humans,” Hiles said.

“I look so forward to experiencing that tangibility of audience emotion that one can always cut with a knife during a show, to hearing something, hopefully, more than dead air after a song and to showing people that there is a light at the end of this long and dreadful tunnel — and it’s a spotlight,” Anderson quipped.


  • Contact Anderson on 074-336-5154 for more information. Proceeds from the performance (both live and online) will go towards the Wildcoast FM Legacy Fund initiative.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.