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Wednesday, September 7, 2016


(Peter Court)

The sixth annual DUT Children’s Theatre Festival – which takes place at DUT City Campus and the Courtyard Theatre from September 8 to 11, takes a slightly different approach this year showcasing original productions written and work-shopped by drama staff and first year students and introducing the Professional Fringe with invited theatre-in-education specialists.

September is both heritage month, and the Michaelmas school holidays. With this in mind, DUT Drama has traditionally staged a theatre festival with younger audiences in mind – honouring South African stories, with a strong heritage theme and educational context.

The previous five festivals have each showcased a particular Durban writer who specialises in Children’s Theatre. Under the spotlight have been Gisele Turner (2011), Clinton Marius (2012), Prof Pieter Scholtz (2013); Dr Gcina Mhlophe (2014) and Neil Coppen (2015).

The DUT Children’s Theatre festival was founded by Prof Lutge and goes into its sixth year. “This year we wanted to look at the festival in another way, and we proudly present a programme of original home-grown works - all imaginative stories with strong life lessons,” says this year’s festival co-ordinator, Dr Pamela Tancsik.

Since last year, the festival is also part of the DUT Digifest – with one performance taking place at DUT City Campus as part of the Digifest programme.

The Professional Fringe Festival, embedded into the festival, offers productions from veteran stalwarts Peter Court, Adi Paxton and Gisele Turner dovetailing with the commissioned festival pieces to allow for a varied and extensive programme of work over the weekend for the public.

Friendly Lessons directed and written by Lee-Ann Naicker and students. The little animals are preparing for their school concert, during which time they bully elephant. However, after elephant uses his trunk to rescue two of his classmates who fell down the well, the bullies apologise and elephant becomes a hero. A play for pre-school and grades 0-2.
September 8 at 09h00 and 10h30 at the Courtyard Theatre:

Siza’s Tale directed and written by Lee-Ann Naicker and students. When Siza a loyal servant of 10 years makes a small mistake, the King sentences him to the Lions’ den. The servant’s last request is 10 more days to spend with his family. During these 10 days, however, the servant feeds the lions regularly, so when he is eventually thrown into the lion’s den, they do not harm him. A play for grades 5-7
September 9 at 09h00 and 10h30 at the Courtyard Theatre

Looking for a Leader. Based on a traditional African story where an elderly wise chief from a small village in KwaZulu-Natal is worried about finding the most moral person to follow in his footsteps as an honourable leader of his community. He calls on the youngsters of the village to compete in a seed-growing competition. The wise chief, however conceals, some important information to find the right man among many wrong ones. A play for grades 2 – 5
September 10 at 10h30 at the Arthur Smith Hall on City Campus.

2-4-1 Double the Fun - Cherryco Productions. Join popular actress, magician and clown Adi Paxton in a celebratory interactive double bill! The 2-4-1 programme comprises an exciting puppet story, Pet’s Tale, in which the children help Petric find his home followed by Cherry the ditsy Clown making fabulous magic. Family Theatre Age: 3 and up. 50 minutes
September 10 at 10h30 and 14h30 at the Courtyard Theatre

Sunshine Babies from Happy go Lucky Productions. Devised and directed by Gisele Turner and performed by Deaf actor Sibo Masondo and Mlu Ngidi Specially created for very young people, Sunshine Babies is a non-verbal production that follows the sheer exuberance of a day packed with fun activities in Durban’s sub-tropical outdoors. Expect to be enchanted by innocent shenanigans, playful object animation and sweet surprises!
Family Theatre Ages 2 and up. 50 minutes
September 11 at 10h30 at the Courtyard Theatre:

Looking for a Leader - DUT Drama Studies Production. Looking for a Leader is workshopped by the first year students and written and directed by Pamela Tancsik. Based on a traditional African story, the wise chief of a small village in Kwa Zulu Natal sets the youngsters a task to determine who will be eligible to follow in his footsteps. An interactive play for the whole family.
Family Theatre Ages 6 and up. 40 min.
September 11 at 14h30 at the Courtyard Theatre

Drip Drop Drip - Creative Madness written and performed by Peter Court. Water conservation and the bottled water industry are the subjects of this one-man show which unpacks facts and figures in a production geared to entertain as well as educate. Using a variety of creative mediums and magnificently crafted puppets Drip Drop Drip offers a visual treat with a powerful and important message.
Family Theatre 50 minutes Ages 10 and up
September 11 at 14h30 at the Courtyard Theatre:

Tickets R50 (R30 children). Block booking for 10 or more at R 20 each. Productions take place at the Courtyard Theatre, Steve Biko Road, Ritson Campus, Gate 6. Bookings and information through Lebo Sibisi on 031 373 1694 (o/h). After hours: Pamela 082 403 1707 or e-mail:

The Festival is supported by ASSITEJ SA. Contact person: Pauline Dalais