Puppet Park

‘Puppet Park’ is a newly written educational & musical production touching sensitive subjects regarding racism, homosexuality, family issues, abuse and bullying etc. Newly written songs will be added to assist with the message from stage. A message of love and acceptance. From the creative pen of Xander Steyn who has a list of productions that he has written, directed and choreographed – www.xanderartproductions.co.za – this is a production is a must see for every school and child in South Africa.

Mind Your Language is a children’s story that takes us through a short journey of the various languages and cultures South Africa has.  Three friends meet at pre-school and they all speak various South African languages. They get lost at a school field trip and in their journey of finding the rest of the class, they use the opportunity to introduce themselves and their culture by using songs and phrases from their indigenous languages. The friends soon learn how important it is to appreciate your mother language and how it is also important to learn other South African languages. The new friends then make a plea to each other that they are going to make sure they speak all the official languages before they get to “big” school.

Jade Bowers (2016 Standard Bank Young Artist, Naledi Theatre Awards Best Director for Scorched) and Ameera Patel (Naledi Theatre Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Scorched) join forces to present ‘Black’. Based on CA Davids’ 2014 novel ‘The Blacks of Cape Town’, Gold Standard Bank Ovation Award-winning writer/director Penny Youngleson has written an adaptation for stage which intricately balances the poetry and pain of discovery, of unpacking history and the drama of family politics. Accomplished actress Patel tackles her first one-hander, under the directorial hand of Bowers, and with musical composition and accompaniment by Daniel Geddes.

While based abroad, historian Zara Black (Patel) learns via an officious but vague letter from the South African government, that documents once sealed and implicating her father in an act (which, while not clearly defined, was committed against the anti-apartheid movement decades earlier) will soon be released to the public. The resultant unearthing of her own past begins with Isaiah Black – the grandfather that ‘started it all’ when he stole a handful of diamonds from one of the world’s largest diamond mines in Kimberley. This act, however, is overshadowed by what the family considers his far greater crime – concealing his (mixed) race to escape the harsh realities of the mines before abandoning his mother and ultimately changing his name. His choice of surname is not without irony; because having been classified as mixed, he had passed as white, but had given rise to a line of coloured children and grandchildren. His granddaughter Zara finds herself alone and displaced in New Jersey, caught up in the excitement of an American election of a new and historic president, while trying to make sense of South Africa of the past and present: constructing a history for herself and her family from fragmented recollections and family lore.

The show looks at the never ending battle between the queens wives, the disruptive lack of modesty in the laymen, the bad luck that seems to follow the heir and the laughable bad decisions made by the king’s close friends. This seeks to show the similarities between the king and queens and the so called commoner, the most evident similarity being the chaos that comes with the every day life. So maybe we are all kings and queens with our portion of chaos?

The traditional African stories are told using physical and vocal gestures to elevate and honor the ancient art of oral tradition. The storyteller, the bare stage and the graceful gestures will take audiences on imaginative trips across the African continent, moving from Nigeria to Lesotho and every place in between.

The show uses storytelling to relate the ancient and not commonly known history of the roots of the South African people. History of SA: Quick-Quick One Time! locates the different cultures through the various provinces, giving the learners an in to geography, taking them through celebration ceremonies, ancient art, music and celebrates the South African languages. The show in its current incarnation is suitable for learners from the age of 3 to 7, but can be crafted and extended according to the schools specifications to be suitable for ages between 3 – 13, elaborating more on the different aspects of cultures, ranging from cuisine to traditional garb, to current dynamics (i.e. a modern South Africa in which citizens are not bound to their homelands but move freely in the country to find employment, to marry into different cultures) and to widen their knowledge of their country. The piece is interactive therefore smaller groups of between 20 to 25 children are ideal, however the piece can be crafted for larger groups with less interaction and more storytelling.

Does anyone have any idea what the impact of the pandemic of HIV and AIDS is having on our children and their family life? How does one approach this sensitive subject? Did you know that a live theatre show like, Tand’ Impilo can open up a safe space to discuss the subject and this forum can save lives?

JTC has created 2 versions of this production i.e storytelling and street theatre. With a cast of 7 the latter version is a visual street theatre piece and uses daring stilt characterizations, animal masks, original music and Nama language. The storytelling version has 3 characters who portray hilarious frogs who lead the animals to discover their own talents and to stand up to the bully. The storytellers continuously link the folktale to the language, the culture & history of the Khoikhoi as well as to their personal experiences. Insights into the behaviour of humans and wild animals are revealed. Both versions make use of English, Afrikaans & Nama (Khoikhoi language).

When Lion Had Wings is 40 minutes in duration with the storytelling version most suitable for Grades 4-7 whereas the street theatre version is fun for the whole family.

When Lion Had Wings, was developed during the course of 2016 and made its debut at the Cape Town Fringe Festival and was subsequently performed at the Muizenberg Festival as part of Project Ripple; the Cape Town Embrace event in celebration of Universal Children’s Day; at Streetopia and at the Vrygrond Festival.  During February 2017  the street theatre version was performed as part of JTC’s Our Beaches Our Stories project which brought public art performances to public recreational spaces i.e. Monwabisi, Strandfontein and Muizenberg Pavilions, promoting natural and cultural heritage. The storytelling version toured local primary schools during November of 2016, was performed at the Masque Theatre early December and toured the Northern Cape at the start of March 2017.

National Children’s Theatre (NCT), kick starts its 2017 season with an upbeat family musical that has a simple but heartwarming message: Accept the skin you’re in! Step inside the world of Freckleface Strawberry who will do anything to get rid of her freckles. This funny, witty, entertaining production will run at NCT from 14 March during school holidays.

This production has been made possible by the last part of a grant of R2m from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

Based on the best-selling book by actor, Julianne Moore, Freckleface Strawberry The Musical tells the story of a young, red-haired girl with freckles, who is being teased by her school-friends. She tries everything to make herself look like others as she is so embarrassed by the spots that won’t rub off, the hair colour that won’t wash out, the makeup that doesn’t work. In desperation, she comes to school in a ski mask. With the assistance of her helpful and loving friends, Freckleface eventually learns that everyone is different and that’s what makes everyone special.

The delightful songs: Little Freckleface Strawberry, I Like Danny, Kid in the Mask, Be Yourself, Basketball, When You Got Friends, will have the audience bopping on their seats. The high upbeat energy of this feel good show with memorable characters will touch your heart, charm you with its message and have you dancing out of the theatre at its conclusion.

Professional talented actors will keep both children and adults delighted and enthralled. The message is friendship, acceptance and discovering that being different is what makes us unique.

The creative team includes Artistic Director: Francois Theron, Musical Director: Rowan Bakker, Original Choreography: Shelly Adriaanzen and restaged by Phillida Le Roux, Costume Design: Sarah Roberts, Set Design: Stan Knight and Lighting Design: Jane Gosnell.

An educational enrichment guide is available for schools to use as support material in the classroom.

When: 14 March to 13 April 2017
Time: Daily at 10:30 and 14:30 during government school holidays; 1½ hours with a short intermission
Where: National Children’s Theatre, 3 Junction Avenue, Parktown, Johannesburg.
Tours To schools can be arranged

Ticket prices: Tickets for chairs are R120 and tickets for cushions are R100.00. Tickets for Pensioner’s are R100.00. Phone Claudy or Zuki on 011 484 -1584/5 or email bookings@nullnctt.org.za . There is ample free, safe parking available within the grounds. Note Booking is essential as some days we tour to schools.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Visit our website on www.nationalchildrenstheatre.org.za

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The Whale Show is a family production that uses a large puppetry to enlighten and entertain the audience. The two protagonists have spent so much time with whales they behave just like them and even speak whale language, sharing their awe and wonder of these magical creatures. Themes include similarities and differences between whales and humans, threats to whales and whale facts and figures. The audience is encouraged to think critically about their values and the importance of whale conservation when the audience is invited to stop the giant harpoon.

The Whale Show is 45 minutes in duration and is suitable for Grades R – 3. An accompanying drama skills workshop of 45 minutes is also available.

After a 3 year hiatus The Whale Show, based on Heathcote Williams’ ‘Whale Nation’, returned to the stage in 2011 opening with a run at Kalk Bay Theatre. Created in 2001, the play has toured the National Arts Festival; Out The box festival, the Whale Festival in Hermanus; and numerous schools as part of International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) outreach education and awareness campaigns including twinning programmes with underprivileged and privileged schools. It has also been included in the YES programme for Marine Week and enjoyed successful public runs in Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Muizenberg in 2008. In October 2015 The Whale Show traveled to the Overstrand region where it was performed for learners from local schools. The show was last performed at the City of Cape Town, Biodiversity Management Staff at their year end function in November 2016.

Theatre 4 Youth