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Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Catalina Unlimited makes time for the little ones this holiday! From October 6 to 11 it will play host to an array of productions, artists and workshops, aimed at children, with the launch of the Durban Children's Theatre Festival.

The line-up features some of Durban's finest production houses doing their best to keep theatre alive by developing the imaginations of future theatre makers and audiences. In a time where artists fight a constant battle to fill theatre seats with paying audiences, it is hoped that future generations will foster an appreciation for the arts and the work that artists achieve.

The festival also hopes to inspire future artists, theatre entrepreneurs and critical creative thinkers; but above all, entertain young audiences.

Catalina’s vision is shared and supported by ASSITEJ South Africa which connects and supports theatre practitioners, companies, organisations, institutions and schools across South Africa who share a belief in the transformative difference that theatre makes in the lives of children and young people. It is the national centre for ASSITEJ (the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People), which works in 90 countries across the world.

ASSITEJ SA focuses on: creating access to theatre for young people, supporting and developing emerging and established artists, empowering arts education, and connecting and advocating for the arts in the lives of young people through international networking and exchange.

The Festival line-up guarantees to entertain, educate and entice all audiences:

The Fantastical Flea Circus Returns! - Hailed as “Wonder-flea entertaining” (The Daily News) and “BIG fun from tiny stars” (The Mercury), The Fantastical Flea Circus, written and directed by Clinton Marius, is a fun-filled frolic starring energetic young actors, Shona Johnson and Khanyisani Kheswa, who appear as a widely-respected Fleaoligist, and a world-renowned singing sensation. The production’s Small Top antics continue to delight, as the Duchess and the Doctor put their troupe of performers through their paces. The magic and mayhem of this jolly show, which has been seen by thousands of children, saw it scooping all awards in the Children’s Theatre category at the 2011 Mercury Durban Theatre Awards. “Flecked with fun rhyming verse, and featuring some short songs … it’s a charming way to fill an hour and good value at the price of a ticket.” (Billy Suter, The Mercury). 
(Performances on October 6 & 7 at 14h00, October 8 at 16h00; October 9 at 12h00, October 10 at 10h00 and October 11 at 12h00)

Zap and Buttons! Join Zap & Buttons in this show about fitness, health and nutrition. This funny and heartwarming story written by local performing artist Sandy Bigara, toured to over 50,000 children all across KZN in 2010! Zap the Exercise Fairy and her 'bestie' Buttons the Fashion Cat join forces to turn a lazy boy named Junk into a Fitness Star! With loads of help from the young (and old) audience members - this informative show is crammed full of participation, using song, dance and games - Junk will learn to look after his body, and be fit and healthy! 
(Performances on October 6 at 16h00; October 7 at 12h00; October 8 at 14h00; October 9 at 16h00; October 10 and 11 at 14h00)

uMTHAKATI presented by Blue Crane Arts. The cast members are talented performing artists with diagnosed disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. uMTHAKATI is a musical production for children and family audiences. It is a story about a misunderstood sangoma. The story was written and directed by Neena Pitamber, a qualified educator who teaches Learners with Special Needs.
(Performances on October 8 at 12h00; October 9 at 10h00 and October 10 at 12h00)

Ntswaki’s Adventure presented by Nandagram Eco Village. The organisation was started with the aim of educating society at large about the benefits of living an ecologically and ethically sustainable lifestyle through setting a practical example. Their main focus is on education, community building and practical fieldwork. One of their first initiatives is a marionette show called Ntswaki’s Adventure, which is a story about a simple village boy who saves his community from poverty and ecological disaster by planting trees. Some of the characters in the play: Ntswaki, the hero, the Wise Old Man and Ntswaki’s mother.
(Performances on October 7 at 16h00; October 8 at 10h00; October 9 at 14h00 and October 11 at 16h00)

Pot of Stories: Mpumy Ndlovu is a storyteller who was trained under Kwesukela Storytelling Academy (based in Johannesburg) and started doing storytelling during the World Cup where she told both historical and children’s stories. She has worked with Gcina Mhlophe and has done performances in Johannesburg and Durban Museums and schools. Mpumy returns to the old art form of traditional storytelling to entertain whilst educating. This is a 25 minutes piece of the brewing of African Folklores told in English. These stories are told through games, music (and traditional instruments). These stories include; The Elephant and the Seven Blind Men, The Singing Bird; Two Shelen and Princess Anesu! Fun, games and interaction with the children is what moves this dynamic piece. An added feature to this show is a built in workshop titled Integrating Modern/Traditional Instruments/Music in the old Art Form of Storytelling. Mpumy will teach the audiences the fine art of playing an instrument, called Umakhweyana, traditionally used whilst telling a story.
(Performances on October 7 at 10h00; October 10 at 16h00, and October 11 at 10h00)

Tickets R60 per show or discounted to R50 for two shows, R45 for three shows and R120 for the day pass which provides access to five shows in a day. Also on offer are boat rides and meal discounts at selected restaurants at the Warf. Bookings through Computicket. For more info call 031 837 5999 (between 09h00 adnd 16h00)

NB: Shows do not run at the same time daily.

A bonus event is an ASSITEJSA Workshop with KZN Theatre4youth mentor Gisele Turner. PLAY-PLAY! Theatre-in-Education veteran script writer, director and performer, Gisele Turner, currently KZN Theatre4Youth mentor, offers a Make a Play Workshop exploring the capacity to create through play. Serious playfulness is a core element in children’s’ theatre, connecting the performer with the audience through innovative and unexpected play. Ordinary objects become magical in the hands of an animator. Make a Play date for October 6 from 10h00 to 12h00. Open to theatre practitioners and play makers. The cost of the workshop is R20. To reserve a space in the workshop email or Pauline on