Magnet Theatre trainees to shine in The Visit

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Multiple award-winning Magnet Theatre presents Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s classic comic-tragedy The Visit from 14 to 16 June in Observatory, Cape Town. Co-directed by Mark Fleishman and Warona Seane, it will star the talented trainees of the fifth Magnet Theatre training programme.

Magnet Theatre trainees in Okwe-Bokhwe! last year. Copyright © Mark Wessels. www.markwesselsphoto.com
Magnet Theatre trainees in Okwe-Bokhwe! last year.
Copyright © Mark Wessels. www.markwesselsphoto.com

The Visit will be performed from 14 to 16 June at 7.30pm at Magnet Theatre in Observatory, Cape Town, with a special youth day matinee on 16 June at 2pm.

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With a limited run, this is a rare opportunity to see this seldom presented classic masterpiece, performed by 17 of the next generation of South African performers, who are in their second and final year on Magnet’s Training and Job Creation Programme.

The Visit explores societal issues around human nature and the human connections we sell out on in the face of financial gain and social advancement. In The Visit, a wealthy older woman returns to her former hometown with a dreadful bargain. In exchange for their participation in an act of vengeance, she will provide enough money to revitalise the crumbling town. Will the townspeople resist temptation or give in to their greatest desires?

Magnet Theatre trainees in Okwe-Bokhwe! last year. Copyright © Mark Wessels. www.markwesselsphoto.com
Magnet Theatre trainees in Okwe-Bokhwe! last year.
Copyright © Mark Wessels. www.markwesselsphoto.com

“The Visit is a classic text – it’s a big play with a great story that makes for a funny, engaging theatrical experience,” says co-director Mark Fleishman. “Set in mid-20th century Europe, the play challenged the trainees to find connections with a world that was different to theirs and bring those parallels to life for a modern South African audience.

“With themes such as how power and financial gain can corrupt people’s minds and hearts, and seeking justice for the wrongs of past events, The Visit remains relevant to the current environment in South Africa. Due to the scale of this play, it is rarely produced professionally, so this is also an incredible opportunity for the trainees to experience a production of this nature. We are extremely proud of how they have interpreted it and can’t wait for audiences to see them in action.”

Set and Costume Design is by Craig Leo, Lighting Design is by Mark Fleishman and Themba Stewart and Musical Direction is by Shaun Karssen.

The trainees are: Abigail Mei, Andiswa Anthony, Asamkela Ketelo, Bonga Tshabalala, Carlo Daniels, Luxolo Mboso, Siyavuya Gqumehlo, Palesa Mohlala, Rene Brown, Siphesande Mkokose, Sivenathi Macibela, Sizwe Lubengu, Songezo Mtshixa, Sityhilelo Makupula, Vela Leon Zozo, Kamva Obose and Yvonne Msebenzi.

As part of its shift into the next era, with this production Magnet will also be launching its new logo and visual identity which has been generously designed by Si Maclennan and the team at MADE Agency.

Magnet Theatre’s full-time, two-year Training and Job Creation Programme is a skills development initiative that helps youth bridge the gap to tertiary education and employment in the industry. Of the close to 100 participants since 2008, the programme has been instrumental in facilitating access for 25 first generation university attendees. Twelve have graduated and 9 are still studying. Seventy two per cent of the others have found employment in the profession. During 2017, fifteen graduates were employed at Magnet Theatre in various capacities. Fifty one graduates have been employed in a total of 10 000 performances, with 48 new productions created by the graduates. An incredible 94% of all graduates are either employed, self-employed or furthering their studies.

“These figures illustrate the tangible impact the training programme has on the lives of the participating youth,” says Jennie Reznek, co-founder of Magnet Theatre. “Funding remains an ongoing challenge and if you would like to assist, I encourage you to get in touch with us.”

Magnet Theatre is one of South Africa’s best known independent physical theatre companies that has been operating in and outside of South Africa for the past 30 years. In addition to creating 39 original, award-winning productions, Magnet runs multi-layered educational programmes that are aimed at the transformation of young people’s lives and the theatre industry as a whole. Most recently the company toured New York and Toronto with their Early Years Theatre productions SCOOP for babies and KNOCK for young audiences. Other productions that have been incubated at Magnet have travelled across four continents.

The Visit will be performed from 14 to 16 June at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday 16 June at 2pm at Magnet Theatre, Corner of Lower Main and St Michael’s Roads in Observatory. Limited seating, booking is essential. Ample parking is available next to the Theatre.

Tickets cost R70 with concessions for scholars, students, pensioners and groups of 10 or more at R50. Bookings can be made at Webtickets: www.webtickets.co.za

The Magnet Theatre training programme activities are generously supported by:
The TK Foundation, Rand Merchant Bank, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, HCI Foundation, HCI Foundation Community Transport Support Programme, Western Cape Government Expanded Public Works Programme, Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation, Potjie Foundation, The Goethe-Institut, The Joan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust, Distell Foundation, Business and Arts South Africa, Ampersand Foundation & Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

For information about how to support Magnet’s Full Time Training and Job Creation Programme to ensure continued building of future artists, email admin@magnettheatre.co.za or call 021 448 3436.

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