SA theatre community joins hands for the ”Take a Child to the Theatre Today” campaign

The South African theatre community is coming together around the “Take a Child to the Theatre Today” 2013 campaign, to encourageSouth Africa’s youngest citizens to become audiences for theatre.

The World Day for Theatre for Children and Young People is celebrated annually by ASSITEJ centres from across the globe on Wednesday, 20 March. This international association of theatre for children and young people (active in almost 90 countries) and its partners are working together to unite theatres across the world in conveying one message: “Take a child to the theatre today”. The 2013 World Day messages were written by Yvette Hardie, president of the association and director of ASSITEJ South Africa, and Michael Morpurgo, the Children’s Laureate, and writer of numerous children’s books, including War Horse, which was brought to the stage through the Handspring Puppet Company.

InSouth Africathe campaign is particularly vital given that the majority of children in the country do not have access to theatre. “Giving children an opportunity to dream, to imagine other possibilities for their lives, to engage with and empathise with people and situations from very different walks of life to their own, is an important gift every child deserves to receive. We need to combat the poverty of imagination that is unfortunately so evident in our society. All artists have a role to play in doing this,” says Hardie.

“We are asking all artists, emerging and established, theatre houses, and independent companies, community theatre groups and church groups, schools and creches to join together to support the campaign by giving children and young people access to the theatre on this day or at other points through the year. We are also asking sponsors of all kinds, and individuals with the means to do so, to take children to the theatre in recognition of the potentially transformative role of the arts in the lives of children and young people”, continues Hardie.

All South Africans can make a small but important contribution of R10 by texting “Theatre4Youth” to 38490 from their mobile phones, thereby sponsoring children and youth to visit the theatre on and around World Theatre Day.

There are already a number of practitioners onboard for the “Take a Child to the Theatre Today” campaign.

In theWestern Cape:

Artscape is supporting the campaign by hosting the Media launch on Tuesday, 5 March, by providing space for ASSITEJ Youth Ambassador workshops throughout the year, by providing a free backstage tour to Desmond Tutu Foundation youth from Masiphumelele on World Theatre Day, and to discover for themselves the magic of theatre.

They will also promote the campaign through the following activities:

African Theatre Initiative workshops dates: Wednesday, 12 to Friday, 14 June.

Venue: Artscape iSibaya Room

Synopsis: A symposium and series of workshops to be held during the Festial of Youth at Artscape in June. A number of guests fromAfricaand from the Young People’s Theatre Movement inEuropewill be invited to take part, in preparation for a Festival of African Youth Theatre and Dance to be held at Artscape in 2015.

Fietna Lekka Jy

Dates: Thursday, 13 to Sunday, 16 June.

Venue: Artscape Arena

Synopsis: Fietna Lekker Jy is a sensitive drama/comedy in Afrikaans, originally written by Hein Poole in 2011 and reworked in 2012. The story is set in the Boland in the 1980s and is about boys discovering their sexuality. The cast members are Ivan Abrahams, Andre Samuels,DeanVan Der Ventel, Hein Poole and Gaerin Hauptfleisch.

DACS – Youth Celebration Showcase

Date: Sunday, 16 June

Venue: Theatre

Synopsis: The Department of Arts and Culture and Sport will showcase a selection of their developmental youth projects. This will include performances in the genres of choral, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary African dance and indigenous music. Youth from Saldanha,Worcesterand theCapeMetrowill showcase their talents at this performance.

Baxter Theatre: The Zabalaza Theatre Festival will give away 20 free tickets to children and young people on Wednesday, 20 March.

The Fugard theatre will offer 20 free tickets to their production of Master Harold and The Boys, directed by Kim Kerfoot, on Wednesday, 20 March.

Dorpstraat Theatre: Through a live musical performance, Dorpstraat will promote the campaign, giving away 50 free tickets on the day.

Cape Winelands District/Klein Libertas Theatre are taking a live, interactive educational piece of theatre to Ceres on Wednesday, 20 March. They will present the play Kwaai Lappies free of charge to 700 pupils in two shows in theCeresTown Hall.

MAfrika (Nicola Jackman) will be giving free performances for World Theatre Day. The show is a highly interactive edu-tainment piece, where the children learn how to release fear, be grounded, laugh loads and ultimately that love is the most powerful choice.

MAfrika is an adventure story about a deeply connected, open, playful and very loving child. She is just 6 years old journeying from the fantasticallandofMinXato find the ‘wowders’ and save her land from the Numshaq.” MAfrika was originally a care clown in hospitals, uplifting and empowering children. Now she seeks to reach thousands with her message of love and care. Her courageous nature inspires many to open up their hearts and choose loving kindness.

Pierneef Theatre will stage two productions and give away four tickets per show to young audiences.

As hosts of the Absa KKNK, Kuns Onbeperk believe that if someone is exposed to theatre by people who have an appreciation for it, he or she will probably enjoy lifelong joy in the theatre. They therefore encourage everyone to participate in their Share the Arts campaign. The only thing expected of one is to expose someone in one’s inner circle to the magic of theatre. He or she must not have experienced it ever before. This may be a friend, a domestic worker, a young person or even a family member. In this way one will expand the circle of theatre enthusiasts. The Absa KKNK’s Share the Arts campaign is an extension of the Take a Child to the Theatre Today campaign presented by the International Assosiation for Theatre for Children and Young Persons (ASSITEJ). It will also advance other arts genres among the broader community through the course of the year.

ASSITEJ SA, with support from the D.G. Murray Trust, have brought Roberto Frabetti from the Small Size Network toSouth Africa. Frabetti is one of the leading practitioners in the world for making theatre for very young audiences (0 to 5-years-old) and will be working with 16 Magnet Trainees to develop four new plays for 0 to 5-year-olds which will tour to creches and children’s homes inCape Town. These plays will tour free to around 100 creches and kindergartens in April as part of Magnet Theatre and ASSITEJ SA’s commitment to taking theatre to children, when it is not possible to take children to the theatre. This project will launch theatre for the early years inSouth Africaand will be carefully monitored for research purposes.

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