#Take a child to the Theatre Today 2019

ASSITEJ South Africa supports the global campaign to #Takeachildtothetheatre today, which was initiated in 2012 by the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ), under the leadership of South African President, Yvette Hardie. This campaign centres around the ASSITEJ World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People, celebrated globally on 20th March.

The powerful benefits of theatre in the lives of children and young people have been proven through numerous studies, most recently a five year study by the New Victory Theatre, New York, which found that children having access to the theatre, have a greater sense of hope for the future. Theatre provides an opportunity for children and young people to connect with themselves and with others, building more cohesive and inclusive communities, and finding strategies to address the most pressing questions of the day in a safe and creative space.

ASSITEJ SA has invited our South African members, partners and associates to support the campaign by providing free or partially sponsored arts experiences for children and young people in the period leading up to, on and after the day, as well as to draw attention to the campaign through social media. We particularly encourage artists to provide free or sponsored shows, and theatre houses to provide subsidised or partly subsidised tickets and/or transport for performances as part of the campaign. Storytelling, creative workshops and related performance-oriented activities can also be linked to the campaign. Individuals are also encouraged to participate by bringing a child or small groups of children to the theatre.

Highlights of these offerings for Take a Child to the Theatre Today 2019 include

In the Western Cape:

15-16 March: Magnet theatre presented a 2-day theatre festival for children between the ages of 2-7 years and their families, with support from ASSITEJ SA who provided transport for the performances through funding from HCI foundation.  The programme presented 2 enchanting new shows performed by 2 different casts who have been specially trained to engage and communicate with young audiences. 500 children were absorbed by these creative and beautifully engaging presentations.

20 March: African Folktales for Children (10h00 – 14h00): Jungle Theatre Company in partnership with Assitej-SA is celebrating the international campaign ‘Take a Child to the Theatre’ in a new children’s theatre space at 3 Marchmont Road, Muizenberg. Artists will be hosting storytelling circles from Khoisan and isiXhosa mythology and will perform the show Python and the Qunube Tree. They will also facilitate acting and dance workshops. The programme will culminate with Zolani Mahola singing. The event is suitable for children aged between 4 – 10 years and their families.

25-31 March: Theatre Arts Admin Collective – Book Launch of Contemporary plays by African Women : The launch of Contemporary plays by African Women edited by Yvette Hutchison (UK) and Amy Jephta (SA) will see a week long event, showcasing each of the 7 plays in the book through a series of staged readings. Several of the writers are ASSITEJ members from their resepective countries, and much of the work is directed at teen audiences. See here for more details: www.theatrearts.co.za

26-30 March: Titum-Titum and Lumka at the Baxter theatre. Titum-Titum plays everyday at 12pm and Lumka at 2pm. R70 per ticket or R60 for 2! Book through webtickets.

Lumka: Lumka is the story of a little girl who learns to tame her great fear and fly free with her courage. Her quest to rescue her best friend and oldest toy Kiki, ends up being a journey filled with adventures, slightly sticky situations and a realization that her fears are not always what they first appear to be. Titum-Titum: When Adara learns that she is expecting a child she escapes the city to be with her oldest friend, Nobomi. Beginning with the sound of a heartbeat, we follow the ups and downs of her pregnancy. From bizarre food cravings to baby’s first kick, this is a humorous and honest reflection on preparing for new life and creating family in unexpected places


21 March: ATKV – 20 high school learners from Oudtshoorn will find themselves in the theater on the 21st of March when they will be watching the top three productions of ATKV Tienertoneel (Teen Theater) 2018 which will be seen at the ATKV Griesselsaal during the 25th KKNK. The children are from the ATKV branch Struisies of Hoërskool Oudtshoorn. ATKV believes that language and cultural projects, such as teenage theater, provide excellent opportunities for nation building. The ATKV Tienertoneel (Teen Theater) Competition promotes a love of acting, and all aspects of theater such as text writing or creation, directing, sound, lighting, stage management, costumes, decor, make-up and choreography at high school. These events hone the learners’ talents and promote creativity and leadership development with a do-it-yourself approach to making South Africa a successful country.

In the Eastern Cape:

20 March 2019: KUNUKAPHI? – UKUNUKA FORUM THEATRE PROJECT! KUNUKA PHI? A play that is inspired by local journalist’s stories over a number of years. It features amongst other things, ghost workers, undrinkable water and poo. This World Day For Theatre For Young Audiences (Human Rights Month), come be part of a dialogue that will give you a chance to question, laugh, reflect and a chance to create your desired solution. KUNUKA PHI? will tour Makhanda in April (Freedom Month). The play is written by Anton Krueger, co-directed by Luvuyo Yanta and Lalu Mokuku and will perform on Wednesday 20th March 2019 in the Drama Department’s Amphitheatre at 12:30 for 13:00 (ends at 14:00). For RSVP and further information please contact Vnc Mnvr (Marketing & Communications Manager) at 063 118 5533 and/or Ntombizandile Nonyati (Project Administrator) – nnonyati@gmail.com at 0738228980

In Gauteng:

15-16 March: ASSITEJ SA held a two day series of conversations and performances to unpack the value of the arts for children and young people, and to hold the Annual General Meeting of the national centre. Performances included Well Worn Theatre’s Galela and Lulu Mlangeni’s Naledi-nominated Chiffonnade.

19 March: Galela: The Soweto Theatre has teamed up with award-winning eco-theatre company, Well Worn Theatre to bring you a free performance of their hit show ‘Galela’. Splash! Splutter! Then shhhhhhh… Would you dive in next? ‘Galela’ is the thirst-quenching story of a small community deeply affected by our country’s water issues. Three best friends bravely embark on a project to make their town´s drinking water safe again. They soon discover, however, that they have waded into hot water and that the problems affecting the town dam are deeper and murkier than at first glance. Directed by multi-award winning Thembela Madliki, ‘Galela’ features the energetic physical theatre talents of Lerato Sefoloshe, Mlindeli Emmanuel and Tebogo Machaba. The performance is geared for children aged 8 to 12! ‘Galela’ is the second production in Well Worn’s touring eco-play programme generously supported by the National Lotteries Commission. Book through the theatre or go to: https://www.sowetotheatre.com/take-a-child-to-theatre-day/

26 February to 7 April: National Children’s Theatre presents Duck for President based on a book by Doreen Cronin and directed by Matthew Counihan. Register! Read! Vote! This witty, fast-paced script with catchy songs takes audience on an entertaining and fun journey through the election process. Along the way Duck learns some important life lessons, lessons that spill over into the learners’ lives as responsible citizens. The set is appealing and the costumes help us to believe in and identify with all the characters. Although “Duck” targets learners aged 5 to 10, adults will find much to enjoy in this whimsical play. NCT has targeted groups of children who would otherwise not be able to see theatre.

19-24 March: Walking Tall is PAST’s signature educational initiative and the foundation of its overall mission to promote and protect humankind’s rich fossil heritage in Africa. Walking Tall’s uniqueness and effectiveness lie in its use of theatre to teach science. The prodution takes the audience on a journey through time from the origins of the Earth to present day,  inspiring learners to recognise, understand and value their ancient African heritage. PAST will be presenting a free performance to a group in the Gauteng region during this period.

19 – 23 March: The Outreach Foundation will be hosting the Hillbrow Kids’ week at the Hillbrow Theatre where they will have a holiday program filled with fun and education. For more information, go to

20 March : Play Africa has partnered with Wits School of Education in a special “Theatre for babies and young children” with aspects on their new programme, Developing Together, for 1 – 3 year olds and caregivers. The event will be at Play Africa, Constitution Hill, from 09:00 to 10:00.

22 March: The Voice Lab with Bekezela – This is an initiative by Bekezela an Afro jazz musician who believes that children and young people need to be exposed to music at a tender age. These music workshops will be held at the Girls and Boys Club of South Africa in Bertrams in Johannesburg. As music is his passion, he believes that music is part of the theatre world and should not be separated, hence he supports ASSITJ SA’s campaign #Takeachildtothetheatre using his musical abilities.

Gauteng-based Artists such as Hlanathi Community Theatre, Sizwe Vilakazi from Let’s Play Children’s Theatre and Denel Honeyball from Honeyball Casting have all offered workshops to children.

Northern Cape:

20 March: 14h00 – 17h00: Ditshoswane Community Art Centre, Ikhutseng, Warrenton, will hold a reading and workshop in dance/drama for  #Takeachildtothetheatre campaign! The event is absolutely free and is intended for parents and children to enjoy together. It will be run by Letlhogonolo Lucky Nche, the ASSITEJ SA Northern Cape Theatre4Youth representative.

Kwa-Zulu Natal:

21 March: ASSITEJ SA Youthstage at Francofete 2019. This FREE FESTIVAL includes a morning of fun activities for the family and a music concert in the afternoon. The Alliance Française uses this annual opportunity to showcase some of the best French; Francophone and French-inspired music; dance; theatre; workshops; visual arts; crafts and of course, wonderful delicacies, food and drinks. During the day there will be face painting, a kiddies drawing corner, dance and music. ASSITEJ SA artists include Sibo the Mime artist and Mpumy Ndlovu with storytelling. With thanks to Alliance Francaise, Livingstone Lootz Transportation, Cathy’s Costume Hire, Philiswe Twijmstra, Penny Youngleson and Pauline Dalais.

18 – 28 March: Rhumbelow Theatre This March school holiday as part of WTD, Rhumbelow Theatre has donated performances for 15 underprivileged children every day, every show, to catch Brendon Peel’s highly successful kids’ magic show, ALAKAZAM! This show is visual, engaging, entertaining, and even educational. Watch as this trickster makes things vanish and reappear right before your very eyes. He performs magic with practically any object he can find, turning these generally mundane objects into something mystical and magical. Children from St Thomas Home, Wentworth ECD and Newlands ECD are amongst the lucky recipients of this gift.

Gcina Mhlope has offered two storytelling sessions to children in the province. Details to be announced.


18 – 20 March Pine Ridge Combined School – Herbert Mokoena will host a 3 day workshop for 30 creative arts learners in Theatre Making as part of his contribution to the #Takeachildtothetheatre Campaign. The workshops will be held at the school in eMalahleni. Herbert is an Applied Theatre Practitioner and Theatre Maker.


The World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People (20th March) is celebrated annually by ASSITEJ members in over 100 countries. To honour this day, ASSITEJ works to unite theatres across the world in conveying one message: “Take a child to the theatre today” and invites an international spokesperson to write a World Day Message to encourage all stakeholders to ensure that children and young people have access to theatre. Each year, messages are released to create awareness around the day. This year’s messages profile the voices of children – Joyhee (8) and Jojo (11) who experience theatre through the House of Muchness, in Brisbane, Australia. One of the ASSITEJ national centres is also invited to create the official camppaign video, and this year’s video is created by ASSITEJ Korea.

Go to www.assitej-international.org for the ASSITEJ World Theatre Day tool-kit, the World Day Messages, Video and other information, and contact us on info@assitej.org.za if you wish to be participate in the campaign, using “Take a Child to the Theatre Today” as your subject.

Together let’s join hands to “take a child to the theatre today.”