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Sunday, July 24, 2016


(Pic from the 2014 production of “Animal Farm”)

Nobulali Productions in association with The Playhouse Company presents the return of Neil Coppen’s widely acclaimed stage adaptation of Animal Farm in the Playhouse Drama from August 2 to 7.

In 2014, multiple award-winning writer, designer and director Neil Coppen adapted and created a new theatrical version of George Orwell’s timeless classic novel Animal Farm, first published in 1945. This toured nationally, scooping two prestigious Naledi Awards in 2015 in the categories, Best Production for Young Audiences and Best Ensemble.

The production’s casting includes Mpume Mthombeni/ Tshego Khutsoane (Napoleon), MoMo Matsunyane (Snowball), Mandisa Nduna (Nduna), Zesuliwe Hadebe (Clover) and Khutjo Bakunzi-Green (Boxer).

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.”

Nobulali Productions offers highly sought-after live performances of school setworks which are supported by interactive workshops. 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 the creative team is frequent collaborator Tina Le Roux who has lit the show and choreographer Daniel Buckland-- who recently returned from performing abroad with Cirque du Soleil—and is the son of movement maestro Andrew Buckland.

"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. It is important that we develop a young audience through cutting edge work that relates to them in today’s context,” he adds.

Producer Lali Dangazele believes that this work “encourages the audience to think critically about the reoccurring patterns of power and corruption within political systems and structures. As the country celebrates 21 years of democracy- I couldn’t imagine a more important time to be having these discussions with emerging learners and leaders.”

The actresses worked extensively with choreographer 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 in The Playhouse Drama Theatre on August 2, 4 and 5 at 09h00 and 12 noon and on August 6 at 10h00. Public performances will be given on August 6 at 10h00 and 19h00, and on August 7 at 15h00.

Tickets for the schools performances are R70 per learner (accompanying educators free). For school bookings e-mail / 086 402 9592. Enquiries: 084 556 0668

Public booking is via the Playhouse Box Office on 031-369 9540 0 369 9596 (office hours). Or book through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, or online at

Nobulali Productions is a company that was established out of a need to make Shakespeare and other set works prescribed by the Department of Education as well as Independent Examinations Board easy to understand. Arts Education 100 Schools Campaign is the company's invaluable investment toward creative arts and response to the National Development 2030 ideals. For more information visit