If you've ever been to The National Children's Theatre in Parktown you'll know just how whimsical their stage productions can be. Crafted for kiddies aged three to 11, their theatre shows explore the ups and downs of life through spirited song and dance. Children are taken on a journey, as some of their favourite fairy tale characters face tough challenges and hard choices. Ultimately, in its 31 year existence, The National Children's Theatre has allowed children to be themselves and to find answers to some of life's toughest questions.
The NCT is the ideal place to introduce young children to the theatre and help them develop their confidence, imagination and reasoning skills. Of course, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown, The National Children's Theatre has been at a halt. Unable to produce their usual stage shows or host school holiday workshops, their income has been heavily impacted. This is why the NCT is now reaching out to you, their loyal patrons for help. But they wouldn't simply ask for donations without something fun and entertaining in return. Here's what they've got in store for you and the little ones during lockdown:
The National Children's Theatre recently debuted their first online show in lockdown. Performed by puppet master Johan "Swannie" Swanevelder, The Adventures of Mannie Ant was a roaring success. If you didn't happen to catch the show live, you can still watch it on the NCT Facebook page free of charge! Able to transform an ordinary sock into a creature full of life and wisdom, Swanevelder's performances will have both you and the little ones thoroughly entertained.
On Tuesday, 16 June 2020, the NCT made another exciting announcement - they will be presenting another fantastic puppet adventure - Tandi and Bomani and the Feather of Friendship! Swannie will yet again take to the virtual stage to bring you and the kiddies a wonderful series of tales as told by his trusty puppets. Adapted from the book by Ewald van Rensburg, this is an absolute must-see. Take a sneak peek at the show here before setting your reminders to tune in. Follow the National Children's Theatre on Facebook to find the online event link on the day.
Saturday, 20 June 2020 at 14:00.
The National Children's Theatre live on Facebook.
The National Children's Theatre survives off of ticket sales and their school holiday programmes. In these uncertain times, they are going to need your help to keep afloat. While their online offerings are free to watch, they do ask that you make a donation, no matter how small. Their banking details are as follows:
Details: 011 484 1584/5 | [email protected]
Disney's The Jungle Book is an undoubted classic. With its endearing main character, Mowgli, his band of jungle buddies and an iconic songbook, it makes for a grand spectacle on stage. The Peoples Theatre, being seasoned children's theatre geniuses, only adds to the fun and fantasy of the production. Working in collaboration with Coenraad Rall (musical director), Sandy Dyer (musical staging) and Grant Knottenbelt (set and lighting design), the Peoples Theatre team presents the epitome of family-fun entertainment with The Jungle Book Kids!
It's quite a mean feat representing an entire jungle on a tiny stage, but The Peoples Theatre are no amateurs. Abundant plant life, a cascading waterfall and swinging vines set the scene for the opening number of The Jungle Book Kids. Using clever design and a few secret theatre tricks (I won't tell, I promise), they have crafted a visceral world on stage, which quickly draws children's attention.
Mowgli (played by the charming Kwanda Mtombeni) and his panther pal Bagheera (played by Thokozani Jiyane) burst onto stage with vibrant energy. The trusting relationship between the child actor and the professional is evident throughout the production, aiding the emotive element of the story. I must also congratulate Jiyane on his nimble acrobatics as the panther. The kiddies were certainly delighted by his fancy footwork, as was I.
Mogwli's biggest ally, Baloo the Bear, is played by Luciano Zuppa. A seasoned musical theatre performer, he is never afraid of making a fool of himself, which pays off well as the children revel in his goofy portrayal of the much-beloved character. As in the Disney film, Baloo quickly becomes the comic hand, as he bumbles through the jungle living by his motto of simplicity and carefree apathy. But, of course, as young Mowgli claws his way into Baloo's heart, we see a softer, yet more worrisome side to him. The personification of the paradoxes of parenthood, Baloo easily endears himself to both the little ones and parents. A definite nod to Zuppa for his ability to play both the fool and the soft-hearted parental figure.
At this juncture, I must mention that the costumes for the production were masterfully done. Cries of "look how cute that baby elephant is", were resounding, as costumier Linda Wilson matched the enchantment and fun of the set with her detailed costumes. Props to the performers too, for managing numerous quick changes and the heat of full body suits under melting stage lights!
One such quick change artist was Clive Gilson, who took on the roles of Sheer Khan, Colonel Harti and King Louie. Gilson is a multi-talented performer, able to effortlessly slip between characters. Giving each their own personality, he masqueraded as the villain, the stern commanding elephant and the swanky king of the apes. Having seen him deliver a stunning performance in Janice Honeyman's 2019 pantomime, I expected nothing but excellence. However, Gilson managed to surprise with his versatility, earning him a horde of new fans, including myself.
A relative newcomer to the stage, actress Bethany-Joy Jiyane went toe-to-toe with Gilson. Also taking on three minor characters (Kaa the Snake, Winifred and King Louie's wife), she held her own well. Shining as the frumpy Winifred, she most certainly has a talent for evoking giggles from an audience.
The Peoples Theatre have once again successfully taken a Disney classic and made it relevant to a South African audience. While the story of The Jungle Book is universal enough, they add their own special flair to make it uniquely theirs. It is this brand of stage magic that I encourage you to invest in by taking your little ones to see The Jungle Book Kids before it closes on Sunday, 26 April 2020. It's a swinging good time!
Click here for more information about The Jungle Books Kids.
You can also visit The Peoples Theatre's website for details on upcoming shows, kids club memberships and school tours.
Contact details: Corner Loveday and Hoofd Streets, Joburg Theatre Complex, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | (011) 403-1563 / 2340 | [email protected]
The Peoples Theatre has been in operation for 30 years. Spearheaded by theatre and television veterans, Jill Girard and Keith Smith, this dedicated children's theatre house opened the doors for young people to experience the magic and wonder of live performance, regardless of their backgrounds. This year, The Peoples Theatre celebrates their 20th anniversary at Joburg Theatre. They are situated just above the main theatre complex, opposite the National School of the Arts. Driving past over weekends and during school holidays, you can often spot hordes of excited kiddies and eager parents waiting on the side street to step inside.
The Peoples Theatre interior is cosy and inviting, displaying all of the theatre's past productions on the walls. While the space may feel a little tight to grown-ups, it's the perfect size for little ones attending their first theatre show. Once you step inside the auditorium, an energy of anticipation fills the air. It's a marvel to watch first-time theatre goers wait patiently for the show to begin as they can hardly imagine what to expect. Then, once the curtain rises and their favourite characters from books, movies and television appear right before their eyes, the love for theatre is evidently sparked.
As a lifetime theatre fanatic, I distinctly remember my first outing to The Peoples Theatre to see The Jungle Book. Aged eight and on a school trip for the day, I happily sat right in the front row. With baited breath I waited, as smoke machines billowed out a thick, mysterious fog across the stage. At first a little terrifying, the scene quickly transformed into a joyous song and dance spectacle. Now, The Peoples Theatre yet again present Disney's The Jungle Book Kids, commemorating 20 years of hard work, dedication and tons of fun.
How did your partnership with Joburg Theatre come about?
Janice Honeyman, who was the CEO at the Joburg Theatre at the time, asked Peoples Theatre to move our infrastructure to Joburg Theatre. This was in order to facilitate our production house specialising in shows designed for children and families from all sectors of the community. A big thank you has to go out to Bernard Jay for all the support he showed The Peoples Theatre over the years he was CEO after Janice. We now have the great pleasure of dealing with Xoliswa Nduneni Ngema, the new CEO of the Joburg Theatre, who allows The Peoples Theatre to continue developing the minds of future theatre goers.
What has been your key highlights at The Peoples Theatre over the last 20 years?
Every production has been special in its own right. Our greatest joy was obtaining the rights for Disney’s junior shows, which has helped many young actors and technicians start their careers in musical theatre at the Peoples Theatre.
Why do you believe that children's theatre is still relevant 20 years on?
Children's theatre stimulates and encourages a lifetime of theatre going. The themes and sentiments of our shows are as relevant today and have a lasting impact on children who see these productions. Studies show that, "Experiencing live theatre enables a child to achieve a deeper understanding, social tolerance and a greater ability to question," (Dr Natasha Kirkman).
How do you cater to audiences from preschool age to adulthood?
The content of the shows are appreciated on various levels, depending on the age of the child. A very young child is mesmerised by both the visual and auditory stimulation, whereas an older child and adults will respond to the dialogue, story line and morals drawn from each story, understanding conflict and resolve!
Why should parents bring their children to see your upcoming production of Disney's The Jungle Book Kids?
The Jungle Book is a hugely popular story which has endured for many generations. It's fun-filled with delicious humour, a beautiful set, with the most memorable music score. The hit song, Bare Necessities, is iconic.
How do you believe theatre can change or benefit the lives of young people who come from underprivileged backgrounds?
The Peoples Theatre has always welcomed all children, no matter how challenged they are financially, by offering reduced prices to schools. Theatre builds confidence, stimulates creativity and boosts children's academic performance. We believe that there are both social and academic benefits from taking school groups to live performances.
Finally, can you give us some insight into the amount of work it takes to put on four productions per year at the Peoples Theatre?
Each production, including set, costumes, staging, direction and casting takes approximately 6 - 8 weeks to develop for live performance, depending on the complexity of the piece.
Click here for more information about The Jungle Books Kids, which will be on at the Peoples Theatre from Sunday, 08 March 2020 – Sunday, 26 April 2020.
You can also visit their website for details on upcoming shows, kids club memberships and school tours.
Contact details: Corner Loveday and Hoofd Streets, Joburg Theatre Complex, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | (011) 403-1563 / 2340 | [email protected]
This year, the National Children's Theatre celebrates 30 years of dedication to children's theatre. Since its establishment in 1989, NCT has built on its reputation as a leader in educational children’s theatre. Making its mark by providing artistic excellence, building community partnerships and developing a new generation of theatre supporters through entertaining, engaging, and most importantly, educational programmes.
NCT stage four full productions per year, bringing the joy and love of theatre to little ones from all around Johannesburg. They often host school tours, welcoming in excited children in their bus loads. The theatre space is quirky and plays to a child's imagination. Housed within two heritage sites donated by the Joburg City Council in historic Parktown, this is the ideal place to introduce your children to the world of theatre and storytelling. So, why not bring them along these school holidays for a magical adventure into some of the greatest children's stories ever written?
The National Children's Theatre present two awesome shows in the run up to the holiday season, Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Dr Seuss's The Cat In The Hat! While these are not strictly Christmas themed titles, they do bring a sense of wonder and magic to the stage. Plus, audiences of all ages can enjoy the trickery, emotion and friendships portrayed in these timeless classics. If your darlings have never seen a live stage play before, then make sure to bring them to see these shows!
Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first published 50 years ago. However, this delightful tale about a determined young chocolate connoisseur and his wacky mentor still enchants children and adults world over to this day. For the first time ever, the stage adaptation of Dahl's classic will be performed at the National Children's Theatre. As NCT's final production for the season, this promises to be a smashing success. Dramatised for the stage by Richard George, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory brings all your best loved characters to vivid life.
Join Charlie Bucket on his adventure of a lifetime. His plain, drab life is about to sweeten with colour and confection beyond his wildest dreams. He and his beloved Grandpa embark on a mesmerizing joyride through a world of pure imagination. All your favourite (and un-favourite!) Roald Dahl characters come to life onstage, including Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, TV Mike, Charlie's other grandpa and the grandmas, Willy Wonka and, of course, Charlie himself.
This beloved tale is bound to draw in audiences quickly, so book your tickets as soon as possible! Click here for more information.
Everyone's favourite cat comes to life this festive season at NCT. Dr Seuss's infamous Cat in the Hat pounces onto stage in December, bringing you and the kiddies a whole bunch of laughs.
Join Sally and her brother as their rainy-day blues are turned upside-down by a playful stranger in a striped hat. From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears at their door, Sally and her brother are in for a roller coaster ride of havoc and mayhem! It all seems under control until the Cat unleashes Thing 1 and Thing 2, who do their best to cause absolute mayhem. The children are thus left to wonder what their mother will say when she returns home. Will their house ever be the same? And, should they tell mother what happened?
Dr Seuss's The Cat In The Hat teaches children that they can make their own fun with nothing but a little imagination. Along with Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Cat will fill the theatre with mischievous humour and madcap style. The talented cast, headed by Naledi Award Winner, Jaques De Silva, includes two other professional actors, as well as eight children from NCT workshops.
The Cat In The Hat promises to enrapture audiences young and old with their outstanding performances, perfect for those days when the kids have nothing to do at home during the holidays!
Is your little one a stage star in the making? Then, enroll them in the NCT Musical Theatre Holiday Camp programme, offering prima donnas between the ages of 5 - 16 the opportunity to hone their skills and learn all about the magic behind the stage craft. Taking place over five days in the December holidays, this is the perfect alternative to having the kids spend their vacation days glued in front of the television.
Children will be divided into acting troupes according to their age. There will be four troupes in total, with kids aged 5 - 7, 8 - 10, 11 - 13 and 14 - 16. Each group will learn a new set of skills, including singing, dancing, mask making and stage management. At the end of the programme, kids will perform songs from Seussical Jr, Frozen, The Greatest Showman and Hamilton!
Click here for more information about the Musical Theatre Holiday Camp programme.
Details: 3 Junction Avenue, Parktown, Johannesburg | 011 484 -1584/5 | [email protected]
The Peoples Theatre in Braamfontein has been bringing world-class children's theatre to the stage for over 20 years, spearheaded by theatre and television veterans, Keith Smith and Jill Girard. The Peoples Theatre produces four full productions each year, often bringing classic fairy-tales to life. While their theatre is geared for children aged 3 - 12, The Peoples Theatre also keeps parents and older siblings in mind. Providing a fantastic experience for young and old, this tiny theatre on a hill is vital to introducing children to the arts.
The Peoples Theatre works in close association with schools across Johannesburg. Nearly 80% of their audiences who come to see a show with their school would not have otherwise been exposed to theatre. Welcoming in children from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic experiences, the Peoples Theatre opens up a world of magic and wonder to all.
Taking your child to the theatre for the first time can be an incredible bonding experience. Watching their face as the story unfolds just metres away is pure joy. Why not take some time during the upcoming autumn school holidays and treat the kids to a day out at the Peoples Theatre? From Sunday, 08 March 2020 to Sunday, 26 April 2020, the theatre presents Disney's The Jungle Book Kids! This fantastic musical adventure is based on the 1967 film and features all your most loved songs. Join in on The Bare Necessities, I Wanna Be Like You and many more. The Jungle Book Kids is the ultimate family-fun adventure. Book your tickets now to avoid missing out!
When Is It?
The show officially opens on Sunday, 08 March 2020 and runs until Sunday, 26 April 2020.
Monday - Friday at 09:00 and 11:00.
Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 and 14:30.
Where Is It?
The People's Theatre, Joburg Theatre Complex, 33 Loveday Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
How Much Is It?
Tickets cost R145 per person for the general public, or R100 per person for members of the Peoples Theatre Kids Club. Book your tickets by contacting 011 403 1563/2340 or via email at [email protected]
The Peoples Theatre recently announced their lineup for the rest of the 2020 season. You can expect big things as Peter Pan Junior and Disney's The Little Mermaid Junior take to the stage in June-July and November- December respectively. As always, the Peoples Theatre are sure to deliver their unique brand of fun for all ages, with sing-alongs, stunning sets and stellar casts. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates on upcoming shows!
Kids Club members receive a number of discounts on tickets, as well as special benefits. With over 3000 members, this kiddies theatre club is well worth signing up for. Here are some of the nifty benefits that come with being a member:
The yearly membership fee is just R120. If you would like to become a member of the club, click here.
Visit their website for more information. Or, you can follow them on social media:
Facebook - facebook.com/PeoplesTheatre
Twitter - twitter.com/peoples_theatre
Queen, Abba, Ballet and Ballroom - what more could you ask for in a dance show? Dancing Queen - A Ballet and Ballroom Blitz is proudly presented by Dance Inc. This one-of-a-kind dance school offers children an opportunity to feel like REAL ballet dancers on a big stage. Come and see these tiny dancers perform their hearts out on the Roodepoort Theatre stage. Twirling and tip-toeing to your favourite rock and pop hits, this is a must-see!
Saturday, 14 March 2020.
Roodepoort Main Theatre, 100 Christiaan de Wet Rd, Florida Park, Roodepoort, Johannesburg.
Ticket prices not communicated.
Visit their website for more information, or follow them on social media:
Facebook - facebook.com/RoodepoortTheatre
Twitter - twitter.com/RoodepoortT
Contact the theatre Box Office on 0861 670 670 / 011 472 1374 or via email at [email protected]
The 11th Drama for Life International Conference and Festival takes place at WITS Theatre from Thursday, 08 August - Saturday, 17 August 2019. As part of the festival, Drama For Life present Little Voices from the Grave, a moving story about the mysterious death of a little girl.
During her funeral the circumstances surrounding her upbringing, her short lived life and dark family secrets, are unexpectedly revealed. Her funeral becomes an unplanned stage for societal reflection and introspection on both physical and material disabilities echoing in our contemporary communities.
The 2019 DFL International Conference and Festival is themed around building a child centered society. Performed by African Tree Productions, Little Voices From the Grave is a must-see. Get your tickets now.
Monday, 12 August 2019 - Tuesday, 13 August 2019.
Monday at 14:30
Tuesday at 11:00
WITS Theatre, Cnr Jorissen & Station Streets, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Ticket prices have not been communicated. Keep an eye on their Facebook events page for updates.
Follow them on Facebook for more information.
Contact them on 011 931 0224 or via email at [email protected]
These school holidays beat the winter boredom and bring the kids to the Auto & General Theatre on the Square for a lovely, fun-filled day out. Jellie the Ellie is coming to the theatre and she's bringing all her friends with her.
Jellie the Ellie comes to visit Zoemba's world, where he lives with his two friends Jippie and Doolie. At the same time, an unexpected 'traveller' also arrives. Travis Tooth-mouse has been traveling far and wide collecting milk teeth for his 'boss' the Tooth Fairy Queen. Soon, Jellie begins to feel uneasy in Travis' presence and her jelly legs get the better of her. But, Jellie's intuition is right - Travis is planning something sinister. He comes up with a plan to do whatever it takes to make his Tooth Fairy Queen happy, even if it is at the expense of his new friends.
This charming tale about friendship also teaches kids the importance of oral hygiene, so its a two-for-one entertainment and learning experience. Book your tickets ASAP!
Sunday, 7 July 2019 - Thursday, 11 July 2019.
Nelson Mandela Square, Corner Sandton Drive and Rivonia Road, Sandton, Johannesburg.
Tickets cost R100 per person. Book yours at Computicket.
Contact them on 011 883 8606 or via email at [email protected]
School holidays are almost upon us. Now comes the persistent nagging and cringy whines from bored kids with very little to do. To stop you from pulling out hairs these holidays, the National Children's Theatre presents Charlotte's Web based on the beloved children's book by E.B. White.
Charlotte’s Web tells the story of Fern - a young girl who loves animals and speaks to them. With the help of Charlotte, a remarkably creative spider, Fern rescues an irresistible little pig from being sent to the butcher's block. Audiences will share in the kindness and unconditional love that thrives among the unlikeliest of friends in this musical extravaganza. This delightful play teaches young audiences about communication and co-operation between individuals and also gives them insight into the blending of South Africa’s diverse cultures.
So, bring the kids along to the theatre for a day of fun and learning. Get your tickets now before the season sells out!
Tuesday, 18 June 2019 - Saturday, 13 July 2019.
Where Is It?
National Childen's Theatre, 3 Junction Avenue, Parktown, Johannesburg.
Babies under 1 year - no charge
Lap fee (age 1-3) R50
Chair seating - R120
Floor seating - R100 (for children who enjoy sitting upfront and being able to interact with the cast).
Pensioners over 65 - R100
Book your tickets on the NCT's website. Contact them on 011 484 1584/5 for banking details.
For more information, click here.
World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People is a global initiative spearheaded by the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ), set aside as a day to promote youth theatre through the message,"Take a Child to the Theatre Today". World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People is celebrated annually on 20 March. On this day, ASSITEJ calls on arts organisations, teachers and parents to acknowledge children's dependence on them to be taken to the theatre. Children cannot take themselves to the theatre and as such, it is our responsibility to bring them to it, fostering a lifelong relationship with the arts.
The aim for this year's event is to make the case for 'children's entitlement' to theatre and the wider arts. In South Africa, these forms of edu-tainment are often overlooked as luxuries for only an elite few. However, studies have proven that by taking children from underprivileged backgrounds to the theatre, their social and academic skills may drastically improve. Regular theatre going builds confidence in children as it encourages them to participate in storytelling by seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking and imagining new worlds.
Whether you are a parent, an older sibling, a teacher or simply someone with an interest in youth theatre, we implore you to take a child to the theatre this World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People. Lucikly, Joburg has a number of child-friendly theatre venues and dedicated children's theatres to take the kiddies to. Plus, this year's event just so happens to fall on the first day of the autumn school holidays! Here are our favourite children's theatre venues in the city:
With over 30 years experience in children's musical theatre, the National Children's Theatre in Parktown should be a parent's go-to for educational kiddies theatre shows. This niche theatre venue, situated within a national heritage house, specialises in entertainment for children aged three to 11. The NCT are seasoned professionals when it comes to extracting the 'moral fibre' from classic stories told over generations, often re-imagining fairy-tales and fables to make them relevant to young South African audiences. If you have never treated yourself and the little ones to a show here, do so this World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People.
The Peoples Theatre in Braamfontein deliver stunning visual and aural performances, offering kiddies the chance to see their favourite Disney characters live on stage. From Shrek, to Baloo the Bear and even the Little Mermaid, this kiddies theatre venue is the perfect place to introduce your little ones to the theatre. The Peoples Theatre expertly combine fun and teaching as their productions feature a large participation component. Shows here can become a little rowdy as children become lost in the magic of storytelling, song and working together to defeat the nasty 'villains' on stage.
Just a hop and a skip away from the Peoples Theatre is the Joburg Theatre complex. While not strictly a children's theatre venue, this massive theatre house is the home of Joburg Ballet and Janice Honeyman's annual pantomime. Treat your burgeoning theatre fundis to a day out at the 'big theatre' this World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People. These are the kind of memories that will stay with them well into adulthood, helping build a strong love for the theatre and the arts at large.
Pieter Toerien Productions proudly present a wide variety of kid-friendly shows at Montecasino. Having brought Joburg audiences Matilda, Peter Pan on Ice and Annie in past seasons, the Pieter Toerien Theatre is fast becoming a must-visit theatre for families.
Will you be taking your child to the theatre this World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People? Check out our list of the top kiddies theatre shows on stage this March/April!