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On Saturday morning’s edition of Saturday’s Role With Reno, host Renos Spanoudes spoke to Bridget Van Oerle about children’s theatre offerings at the Wits 969 Festival.
Children’s theatre at 969 Festival.
The WITS 969 Festival falls right in the middle of government school holidays this year, and there will be a fantastic choice of children’s theatre lighting up the stages at Wits. In addition to all the productions for kids, there will also be a selection of exciting plays perfect for the entire family to enjoy.
The young people’s 969 theatre weekend will bring a variety of genres into the mix. Children between the ages of 4 and 8 will be entranced by Space Rocks, a new play combining science, technology and mythology to create an innovative and playful theatrical experience about early childhood development and emotional growth. It is directed by Craig Morris and written by Tamara Schultz.
Then one for the whole family is Jitterbugs. It will have you shaking with laughter as it brings the first ever proudly South African musical-comedy-sketch show written by primary school kids and performed by professionals. Jitterbugs is imaginatively directed by Claudine Ullman.
Older primary school children will love Mainane!, a magical coming-of-age journey about a group of kids who overcome their struggles against the backdrop of contemporary South Africa. The play is directed by Warren Nebe and Hamish Neill.
The delightful award-winning Rat Race directed by Kyla Davis is perfect for little kids. The play is styled like a pop-up storybook and is comical with an eco-theme about a stressed-out city rat and an easy-going farm mouse.
Teenagers respond to engaging theatre that speaks to them in their own language and raises prevalent issues. “Theatre is a hugely powerful tool to convey messages, educate while entertaining and today’s teenagers experience a myriad of problems that we as parents never had to deal with. ,” remarks festival director Gita Pather.
Teen audiences will be enthralled by Insta-Grammar, a heart-wrenching love story in the whirlwind era of Instagram and Snapchat. Directed by Hamish Neill in collaboration with the Drama for Life Theatre Company, Insta-Grammar is the ultimate drama for teens 15 years and up.
The 969 Festival is from 14 – 30 July and while the children’s theatre takes place over a specific weekend, there is a good selection of plays throughout the run where parents can watch with their kids. For example, high school children would benefit from learning more about South African struggle icon Chris Hani in a play about his life simply titled Hani. The young cast is dynamic and energetic performing to contemporary hip-hop and rap while telling his story. Other productions for the family are eco-drama Burn and thought-provoking Mmu, to name some.
Listen to Renos’ interview with Bridget Van Oerle here:
Tune in to Saturday’s Role With Reno: O Rolos Tou Savattou Me Ton Reno, Saturday mornings on The New Pan Hellenic Voice – Greek Community Radio 1422MW from 8am to 11am