The Market Theatre scoops Festival accolades


With four productions across the National Arts Festival’s Main, Student Festival and Fringe programmes the Market Theatre is set to affirm its reputation.


It is known as South Africa’s leading creative hub for producing and presenting thought-provoking, inspiring and original South African theatre of the highest standard. Both productions on the Festival’s fringe programme have won the Standard Bank Fringe Ovation Award

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The Market Theatre Laboratory’s production, Hani, which was awarded the Standard Bank Fringe Ovation Award, opened at the Festival last week playing to full houses and rousing standing ovations. Devised and directed by Leila Henriques, Hani is inspired by the hit American musical Hamilton. Told through hip-hop, rap, ballad and high-powered energetic dances, Hani is a contemporary and inspiring story about the life and times of assassinated political leader, Chris Hani. The presentation of Hani at the Festival coincides with the 75th anniversary of the birth of the charismatic leader.

Following its momentous success at the National Arts Festival Hani will be staged at the 969 Festival at Wits Theatre. The popular Johannesburg festival curated by Gita Pather will take place from 14 – 30 July 2017.


Also, scooping the Standard Bank Fringe Ovation Award is TAU, the winner of the Market Theatre’s 2015 Zwakala Festival and recipient of three Naledi Awards for 2016. TAU played to full houses at the Market Theatre late last year. Throwing the spotlight on the taboo of homosexuality during a sacred “manly” ceremony TAU is a sensitive portrayal about cultural values that have remained unchanged for centuries and are difficult to question.

After a successful and sold-out season at the Market Theatre and after scooping the Standard Bank Ovation Award in Grahamstown as well as three Naledi Theatre Awards, TAU is bound to have another round of success when it tours to the Vryfees Festival in Bloemfontein later this month. The Zwakala Festival which is the Market Theatre’s flagship development programme for community theatre will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October 2017.

Alumni from the Market Theatre’s Zwakala Festival and the Market Theatre Laboratory have a long track record of success at the National Arts Festival. The 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, Monageng Vice Motshabi, is an alumnus of the Market Theatre Laboratory. He joins the ranks of two other alumni, Mncedisi Shabangu and Prince Lamla, who won the Standard Bank Young Artist award in 2003 and 2013 respectively.

Motshabi will premiere Ankobia on the Festival’s main programme later this week. Set in the futuristic land of Pelodikgadile where it is forbidden to remember anything that happened before the new state was formed Motshabi’s political allegory is co-written with the Omphile Molusi, winner of the 2007 Brett Goldin Bursary which gave him a UK stint at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Molusi currently teaches at the Market Theatre Laboratory.

Students from the Market Theatre Laboratory will present their 2017 production Pop iCherri at the Student Theatre Festival this week. Pop iCherri, a devised play explores themes of love, lust, beliefs and perceptions, emotion and devotion, religion and culture all coming crashing together. The play was inspired by a newspaper article about scholarships being offered to virgins.

“The accolades awarded to the Market Theatre’s productions affirms our reputation as both a leader in theatre-training and as a producer of artistic excellence. It is a feather in the cap of our students as well as the committed industry professionals who partner with the Market Theatre Foundation to mentor young and emerging artists,” said Ismail Mahomed, the CEO of the Market Theatre Foundation.

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