The Market Laboratory

In October 1989, Market Theatre co-founder, Barney Simon, and Associate Artistic Director, John Kani, founded The Market Laboratory. Responding to the lack of higher education in the performing arts for black students, the Market Lab became a haven of knowledge and expertise.

30-years on, the Market Lab maintains its reputation for being one of the premiere training centres in Southern Africa. Boasting an impressive alumnus, including Olive Schreiner Award winner, Phillip Dikotla. Three Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year winners have also come out of the Market Lab's training programme. Namely, Monageng Motshabi (2016), Prince Lamla (2013) and Mncedisi Shabangu (2014). The Market Lab provides underprivileged youth with the opportunity to master their art and go on to become industry professionals.

Market Laboratory

The legacy of the Market Lab is felt far within the community. The centre is known for engaging with issues of human rights, poverty and gender-based violence in their ensemble pieces. They host a number of community-driven initiatives, many of which have led to the annual Community Theatre Festival and Zwakala Festival.

In honour of the Market Lab's 30th birthday, the Market Theatre Foundation will be hosting a two-week festival. Showcasing alumni work, photo exhibitions, improv play-offs and some of the best theatre of 2019. The Lab also invites students, academics and theatre enthusiasts to a series of workshops and debates around storytelling, community theatre and collaborative creation.


The two-week festival will see a number of exciting theatre productions take to the Market Lab stage. Kicking off with the Kwasha Theatre Company's adaptation of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros. Directed by Market Lab alumni, Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, Rhinoceros offers satirical comment on the rise of totalitarianism and conformism. This is Theatre of the Absurd at its finest, so get your tickets as soon as possible.

Vuka Machel is a revolutionary comedy. Imagining that Mozambican president Samora Machel, has risen from the grave to find his wife Graça married to our very own Nelson Mandela. Machel and Mandela then square off in a series of boxing matches at the World Trade Centre. Seen through the eyes of two chicken thieves, Vuka Machel is reminiscent of Barney Simon, Mbongeni Ngema and Percy Mtwa's Woza Albert! 

Other great shows on the bill include Born Naked, Skierlik, Darkie and Text Me When You Arrive. Click here to see the full lineup.

When Is It?

The festival will take place until Saturday, 23 November 2019.

Where Is It?

The Market Square, 138 Lilian Ngoyi Street, Newtown, Johannesburg.

How Much Is It?

There are a number of free and pay as much as you can events. Tickets for theatre shows cost R100 per person and may be booked online at Webtickets.

For More Information

Visit the Market Lab's website for more information, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Details: 011 838 7498 | [email protected]