DAMSEL IN DISTRESS is a cabaret, produced by the Welakapela Production company of East London, South Africa, starring Alison Hillstead as Griselda, aptly named after the Damsel in Distress in Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’.

Griselda is a librarian that lives in the library. She has not left the building in a long, long time, When faced with life’s little challenges she optS out with, “No thank you, I will rather just read my book. I might not be an adventurer, but I am a librarian and I am proud of it!”
Griselda lives in a world of fiction and struggles to confront her demons.

In this thought-provoking cabaret, Allison Hillstead explores the phenomenon of the “damsel in distress”. She looks behind the curtain, the curtain of reality, where she finds the big bad wolf lurking in the shadows.

This cabaret explores the phenomena of the Damsel in Distress and investigates the very real threat of femicide in South African society.

DAMSEL IN DISTRESS an entertaining yet thought-provoking work played to a full house at the Secret Gardens East London in April 2021.

  • Ticket Price: R50.00
  • Genre: Theatre
  • Duration (minutes): 60mins
  • Ages: all ages
  • Release Date: July 18, 2021 00:01 - August 31, 2021 23:59
  • Language: English



Starring: Alison Hillstead
Musical director/Pianist: Nathan Johannisen
Director/Writer: Amanda Bothma
Video Production: Multimedia Worx
Lighting: Andre Donaldson
Theatre: Guild Theatre


Alison Hillstead has been involved in the Performing Arts for almost 20 years.
First appearing on the Guild Theatre stage in The Sound of Music in 2002 and A Lad in a Lamp the
following year. Since then she has gone on to perform in numerous productions at the Arts Theatre, Alexander
Playhouse and Guild Theatre. In 2007 she performed in Jack and the Beanstalk a travelling pantomime in London. On returning to South Africa she starred in Robin Hood and as the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dofs.

Before relocating to study musical theatre in Pretoria in 2013 Alison appeared in The East London production of Evita.
While in Pretoria she was fortunate to receive roles in T.V advertisements as well as work on the set of The Avengers Age of Ultron and Neil Blomkamps – Chappie.

In 2017 she became an ARTS Alumni, performing in Disney Land, Orlando Florida, and attending master classes by renowned industry professionals and at the New York Film Academy. Most recently, she has returned to East London performing once again at the Guild Theatre, in the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway production version of Cinderella and at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda with Wela Kapela’s productions.

Alison holds her grade 8 in signing through the Trinity College of London and her ATCL performers diploma in drama.
Performing in America, London and South Africa, Alison is no stranger to the stage and is proud to be a part of Damsel in Distress.