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Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Nobulali Productions in association with The Playhouse Company presents Neil Coppen’s stage adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm from August 12 for a short run.

Multiple award-winning writer, designer and director Neil Coppen has adapted and created an all-new theatrical version of George Orwell’s timeless classic novel which was first published in 1945. Coppen says “while the themes, characters and ideas behind Orwell’s text remain unchanged, our production tells the story with a uniquely South African slant to it. This, I believe, will ensure it has relevance and topicality for contemporary audiences.”

Featuring Momo Matsunyane, Khutjo Bakunzi - Green, Mandisa Nduna, Zesuliwe Hadebe and Mpume Mthombeni, the play is followed by a question and answer session.

Nobulali Productions was established out of a need to make Shakespeare and other setworks prescribed by the Department of Education as well as Independent Examinations Board easy to understand. The company offers highly sought-after live performances of school setworks which are supported by workshops and technology. With only 10 performances of Animal Farm and a high level of interest in the production, bookings will be on a first-come first-served basis so early booking is advisable.

Heading up Coppen’s creative team is frequent collaborator Tina Le Roux who has lit the show and choreographer Daniel Buckland, the son of movement maestro Andrew Buckland, who recently returned from performing abroad with Cirque du Soleil.

“It was an intensive yet very inspiring creative process,” says Coppen, “It’s a gift for any writer to work with Orwell’s timeless text and find creative ways to transfer it to a local farm setting without altering the source material in the process. Perhaps the scariest part is that Orwell’s allegory perfectly mirrors South Africa’s current political climate, so while adapting it, I didn’t have to take too many liberties to make it relevant for South African audiences.

“The text is currently a high school set-work and it was an interesting project to be devising while the real-life drama of the national elections played out earlier this year,” he adds. “It is important that we develop young audience through cutting edge work that relates to them in today’s context.”

Producer Lali Dangazele believes that this work “really encourages learners to think critically around the reoccurring patterns of power and corruption within political systems and structures. As the country celebrates 20 years of democracy- I couldn’t imagine a more important time to be having these discussions with emerging learners and leaders.”

Coppen explains how the five actresses worked extensively with Daniel Buckland to bring the eclectic Barnyard of Orwell’s imagining (not to mention three epic battle scenes) to life. This is achieved with the help of some innovative shadow puppetry and costuming by Johannesburg-based designer Thando Lobese.

Animal Farm plays to school audiences in The Playhouse Drama from August 12 to 15 with performances daily from Tuesday to Friday at 09h00 and 12h00. There will be two public performances on August 16 at 15h00 and 19h00.

Tickets for the school performances are R70 per learner (accompanying educators free). Tickets for the public performances are R80 per adult. To book, call 033 3434 884 or 084 5560 668 or e-mail

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