For his 16th birthday, Warren Morris’ party was a disasterous success. “I gave out 30 invitations,” recalls this 35-year-old musician and promoter from South Africa.

“A couple of guys thought it would be funny to photocopy the invites and give them out to the schools in the surrounding area. The next thing I know, I’m getting phone calls from all over Cape Town and 1,500 people turned up. The house was trashed, a wall fell down and the swimming pool was a disaster! But it was the best night ever.”

As with many events in Warren’s life, this situation created “a natural progression” that would help him later on in life.

When he was 18, he set up his own recording studio in his garage and started putting on rock events in the local town hall.

“It did okay but then my mum told me to get a proper job,” quips the promoter from his Hackney-based office. Warren now regularly books more than 60 breaking bands and cabaret acts every fortnight for his eclectic alternative, indie and dance club event called The Playground in various London venues.

“I realise there are lots of promoters out there, so just how do you stand tall? I like to think outside the box and it was a natural thing for me to mix music, fashion, theatre and the arts – and really push the boundaries.”

The evenings, which have become rock’s answer to Studio 54 within a year of being in existence, are named after a goth club he used to frequent as a teenager.

Arts and music have always been an important part of Warren’s life.

From the age of nine he was performing professionally at the Nico Malan Opera House, the main performing arts centre in Cape Town. He went on to study advertising and marketing in Cape Town and took a diploma in drama before being offered a scholarship to do his postgraduate at the Mount View Theatre School, London.

“I got signed to a pop group in 1998 and we had some top 20 success in the UK until 2001. I don’t want to mention the band’s name,” insists Warren, “but I have a huge scar to prove I lived and experienced being exploited. I don’t want anyone else to go through that.”