ASSITEJ South Africa presents Cradle of Creativity 2019, which runs from 20 to 25 August 2019. This veritable feast of Theatre for Young Audiences will be held at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Rondebosch; Theatre Arts Admin Collective and Magnet Theatre in Observatory; and Guga S’Thebe in Langa.
Cradle of Creativity is a biennial festival and conference of theatre for children and young people. A celebration of inspiring international, African and South African theatre, dance, music and puppetry. Each show is created especially for its young audience: some experiences to delight the very young – even babies. And others to challenge and intrigue teens and young adults. All are welcome: schools, families, and theatre practitioners. Teachers can make block bookings for learners to attend a full day of performances and workshops. Delegates and artists can sign up for seminars, workshops and discussions; extending their professional development and adding to the TYA conversation.
The six-day festival will start on Tuesday 20 August and we welcome schools to make group bookings during the week for either one show or a package of workshops and performances. Over the weekend, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August, we will have a special family focus and we encourage you to bring along grandparents, uncles and aunts to join all the children and young people for two days of fun, entertainment and imagination. Giant puppets will parade in the Baxter’s beautiful gardens in a show from Barrydale called River and Redfin, Francois le Roux will perform a concert of Ha!Man and food stalls will provide snacks and refreshments to enjoy between experiencing quality theatrical work created with young people in mind and heart.
The programme includes work for every age.
There is a gentle introduction to theatre for the very, very young: Babah by PuppeTrix Theatre is literally for babies, a multi-sensory experience for babies 4 to 12 months old and their caregivers. Sail Away has been created by Storywood Theatre for children from 0 to 2 years who are on the autism spectrum, and The Tree Song by See Think Wonder is for 1 to 4-year-olds who are hearing impaired.
South African work for the Early Years, little people aged 2 to 7, includes Magnet Theatre’s Sh! and Rockin Mbokodo; Inala Theatre and Janni Young Production’s Lumka and The Mermaid from Zanzibar by one of our favourite storytellers, Pedro the Music Man. From further afield, we welcome Transform with a cast from Botswana and Mozambique and Plasticka from Botswana and Uganda, The Elephant from an Egg from Germany, and Lumière! So Jazz from France as well as an extraordinary dance work from the Dutch company, De Stilte called Hi Ha Hut Builders.
For children at primary school, there will be much to keep them entertained and intrigued as well as challenging new ways of thinking.Night/Light by Blank Canvas Kollective in Johannesburg uses live music, video projection, shadows and light-play to explore when we feel alone and afraid of the dark. Dream by LunchBox Theatre is the engaging story about a girl who goes missing and the little boy who won’t give up on her, and Galela by Wellworn Theatre Company shows us that children with the biggest imaginations will save the world.
By the time they get to High School, South African teenagers often reserve their judgement and can be quite sceptical of the theatre, afraid of being patronised. Well, they can prepare to have their minds blown wide open! Hani: the Legacy is an award-winning musical from the Market Theatre Laboratory; Evil is a multi-award winning play based on the autobiography of French-Swedish author Jan Guillou and performed by Johannesburg actor Jacques de Silva; produced by the National School of the Arts, it is a shocking story about abuse and oppression which premiered at this year’s Festival of the Arts. Two shows directed by Thando Doni: On the Run and Warona are both visual and challenging.
One of our biggest scoops on the festival is that we are featuring ensembles of two companies, Unga Klara from Sweden and Wellworn Theatre Company from South Africa. Each of the companies will present a range of their work for young people of different ages.
Unga Klara is a world-acclaimed TYA theatre company and the national theatre for young audiences in Sweden. We will feature three of their works. X is about Sweden’s racist and colonial history and is for young adults, 15 years and up. Girls will make you blush is one of the first performances on the theme of menstruation and puberty for young adults, aged 13 years and up. My true selves is about identity and norm-criticism for children 9 to12 years.
South Africa’s Well Worn Theatre Company will travel to Cape Town with four productions all featured on the Main Programme of the National Arts Festival. A popup storybook play called Rat Race is for 4 to 6-year-olds, Galela and Plastocracy challenge 8 to 12-year-olds to think about serious environmental issues: water and plastic waste through a sci-fi adventure, while Burning Rebellion is an ecological protest poem that gives voice to a profound sense of injustice, a rightful rage, and a fear of what is to come.
The prize-winning play of the African Play Writing Competition, Dipalo, written by Lalu Mokuku and Ginni Manning will be showcased during the festival. This play is for young adults, 15 and over and deals with the controversial issue of corruption of religious leaders through the eyes of two young friends as their relationship grows.
We will also welcome a number of high profile theatre-makers, thinkers and researchers who will be participating in the programme’s conversations, seminars and workshops. Artists from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, the USA and Australia are all due to attend. These details will be announced in the coming weeks, as well as additional productions that are still being negotiated.
We look forward to welcoming you to Cradle of Creativity 2019 for performances, conversations, workshops, and a great big South African ‘Jol’.
Tickets are available from Webtickets: Adults R80, children R50, Group Bookings R30