Following the incredible success of the ASSITEJ World Congress and International Theatre Festival for Children and Young Audiences in 2017, ASSITEJ SA has launched Cradle of Creativity, a new international festival of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA).
Cradle of Creativity 2019 runs from 20 to 25 August at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Rosebank; Theatre Arts Admin Collective and Magnet Theatre in Observatory; and Guga S’Thebe in Langa.
This veritable feast of TYA features inspiring international and South African theatre, dance, music and puppetry. Each show is created especially for its young audience: with some enchanting experiences to delight the very young – even babies. And there are others to challenge and intrigue teens and young adults. All are welcome: schools, families, and theatre practitioners. Teachers can make block bookings for learners to attend a full day of performances and workshops. Delegates and artists can sign up for seminars, workshops and discussions; extending their professional development and adding to the TYA conversation.
FAMILY FOCUS FUN
Over the weekend, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August, there is a special family focus so bring along grandparents, uncles and aunts to join all the children and young people for two days of fun, entertainment and imagination. Giant puppets will parade in the Baxter’s beautiful gardens in a show from Barrydale called River and Redfin. Francois le Roux will perform a concert of Ha!Man and food stalls will provide snacks and refreshments to enjoy between experiencing quality theatrical work created with young people in mind and heart.
The programme includes work for every age.
FOUR MONTHS (BABIES) TO SEVEN YEARS
There is a gentle introduction to theatre for the very, very young: Babah by PuppeTrix Theatre is literally for babies, a multi-sensory experience for babies 4 to 12 months old and their caregivers. Sail Away has been created by Storywood Theatre for children from 0 to 2 years, and there is a version for those on the autism spectrum, and The Tree Song by See Think Wonder is for 1 to 4 year olds who are hearing impaired. We are also pleased to welcome Carré Blanc Cie’s Lumière ! So jazz from France, for audiences aged 1 and up. With the intertwining of dance, music, singing and body percussions, Lumière ! So jazz is fundamentally jazz. Another dance piece for 1-4 years is Chiffonade, a delightful exploration of the worlds that fabric and the imagination can create, performed by Lulu Mlangeni, in collaboration with the same company.
South African work for the Early Years, little people aged 2 to 7, includes Magnet Theatre’s Sh! and Rockin Mbokodo; Inala Theatre and Janni Young Production’s beautiful puppet play, Lumka and The Mermaid from Zanzibar by one of our favourite storytellers, Pedro the Music Man. From further afield, we welcome Transform with a cast from Botswana and Mozambique and Plastika from Botswana and Uganda, the captivating The Elephant from an Egg from Germany, as well as an extraordinary dance work from the Dutch company, De Stilte called Hi Ha Hut Builders.
PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE
For children at primary school, there will be much to keep them entertained and intrigued, as well as challenging new ways of thinking. Night/Light by Blank Canvas Kollective in Johannesburg uses live music, video projection, shadows and light-play to explore when we feel alone and afraid of the dark. Dream by Lunch Box Theatre is the engaging story about a girl who goes missing and the little boy who won’t give up on her, and Galela by Wellworn Theatre Company shows us that children with the biggest imaginations will save the world.
By the time they get to High School, South African teenagers often reserve their judgement and can be quite sceptical of the theatre, afraid of being patronised. Well, they can prepare to have their minds blown wide open! Evil is a multi-award winning play based on the autobiography of French-Swedish author Jan Guillou and performed by Johannesburg actor Jacques de Silva; produced by the National School of the Arts, it is a shocking story about abuse and oppression which premiered at this year’s Festival of the Arts. Hani: the Legacy is the Standard Bank Gold Ovation award-winning musical by the Market Theatre Laboratory Alumni. Inspired by hit American musical Hamilton, the Chris Hani story is told through the contemporary song forms of hip-hop, rap and ballad by a dynamic and energetic young cast. Two shows directed by Thando Doni: On the Run and Warona are both visual and challenging.
One of the biggest scoops at the festival is that there are two featured ensembles – Unga Klara from Sweden and Wellworn Theatre Company from South Africa. Each of the companies will present a range of their work for young people of different ages.
Unga Klara from Sweden
Unga Klara is a world-acclaimed TYA theatre company with a more than 40 year history and the national theatre for young audiences in Sweden. Described as “wild, daring and sharp” Unga Klara adapts serious topics into playful and sometimes provocative forms. We will feature three of their works. X interrogates Sweden’s racist and colonial history and is for young adults, 15 years and up. Girls will make you blush is one of the first performances on the theme of menstruation and puberty for young adults, aged 13 years and up. My true selves is about identity and norm-criticism for children 9 to12 years.
Well Worn Theatre Company – South Africa
South Africa’s Well Worn Theatre Company will travel to Cape Town with four productions all featured on the Main Programme of the National Arts Festival. A popup storybook play called Rat Race is for 4 to 6-year-olds, Galela and Plastocracy challenge 8 to 12 year olds to think about serious environmental issues: water and plastic waste through a sci-fi adventure, while Burning Rebellion is an ecological protest poem that gives voice to a profound sense of injustice, a rightful rage, and a fear of what is to come.
The prize-winning play of the African Play Writing Competition, Dipalo, written by Selloane (Lalu) Mokuku and Ginni Manning will be showcased during the festival. This play is for young adults, 15 and over, and deals with the controversial issue of corruption of religious leaders through the eyes of two young friends as their relationship grows.
The festival will also welcome a number of high profile theatre-makers, thinkers and researchers who will be participating in the programme’s conversations, seminars and workshops. Artists from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, the USA and Australia are all due to attend. These details will be announced in the coming weeks, as well as additional productions that are still being negotiated.
Join the Cradle of Creativity 2019 for performances, conversations, workshops, and a great big South African ‘Jol’.
Tickets are available from Webtickets: Adults R80, children R50, Group Bookings R30
Cradle of Creativity 2019 is made possible thanks to the support of The Department of Arts and Culture, Goethe Institut, IFAS, Swedish Embassy & Unga Klara, Royal Netherlands Embassy, De Stilte, National Lotteries Commission & Well Worn Theatre, Government of Flanders, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports, Western Cape and Splitbeam Gearhouse.