BBC Strictly's Johannes Radebe announces major career change in brand-new venture

Strictly Come Dancing star Johannes Radebe is ready to take the stage and star as the main character in the musical Kinky Boots.

The 36 year old dancer - who has been on the hit BBC show since 2018 and has been partnered up with the likes of Catherine Tyldesley and Ellie Taylor - announced that he will be taking on the central role of Lola the drag queen for his musical debut in the play.

Led by former Billy Elliot director, Nikolai Foster, the show is inspired by Cyndi Lauper's iconic music and Johannes will perform in venues dotted around the country from February until July 2025.

Johannes is taking to the theatre stage
Johannes is taking to the theatre stage -Credit:BBC/Ray Burmiston

Kinky Boots centres around the unlikely friendship formed between drag queen and cabaret performer Lola and Charlie - who has recently inherited the factory from his late father.

The show's producer Curve's chief executive Chris Stafford said:“ We all know Johannes for his extraordinary artistry on the dance floor, but seeing him inhabit the astonishing world of Lola in Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s proud, punchy and passionate KINKY BOOTS has been an electrifying and profoundly moving experience. We can’t wait to share this explosion of joy with audiences next year.”

Johannes Radebe
The pro dancer is taking on a role in Kinky Boots -Credit:Mike Marsland/WireImage

Last year's series of Strictly saw Johannes being partnered with former tennis pro Annabel Croft, 57, but he recently revealed that he was initially unsure about the pairing as they were both dealing with loss at the time.

The pair made it to the semi-finals and finished fourth overall but, despite their success, they were both on an emotional journey of grief, with Annabel dealing with the loss of her beloved husband, Mel Coleman, who died in May 2023 after a short battle with cancer.

She honoured him with a special dance on the show and has expressed her gratitude to Johannes for his support during her time on Strictly.

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe were partnered up last year
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe were partnered up last year -Credit:BBC/Ray Burmiston

He said: "When they said I'm dancing with her [Annabel], I was like 'what are they trying to achieve?' And I say that because two weeks before I started, I buried my cousin who committed suicide."

Johannes then shared: "So, I didn't feel like... honestly I didn't feel like anything. Y'know, I wasn't as excited as I normally would be because I was like 'this is supposed to be the most exciting period. I've just come back off a very successful tour'. But I had to then go home [to South Africa]."

The finalist however went on to share that, despite his initial concerns about being partnered with Annabel whilst grieving himself, she "helped" him. He made the remark when it was suggested that they "needed each other".