Wits Theatre’s 969 Festival Brings The Best of Makhanda to Joburg


The WITS Theatre has been bringing you the best of Fest for 16 years! Don’t wait until next year to see all the cutting edge theatre put on at the Makhanda National Arts Festival. Spare yourself the 969km journey and head over to WITS Theatre instead. From Thursday, 18 July – Sunday, 28 July 2019 the theatre presents their annual 969 Festival. Featuring 14 of the top productions direct from the NAF, this is a must for theatre fanatics.

969 Festival celebrates 16 years of theatre excellence

WITS Theatre is a multi-functional performing arts venue located on the very outskirts of the WITS Main campus in Braamfontein. Featuring three technically proficient theatre venues, WITS Theatre is a training centre for students, as well as being a fully functioning professional arts space. WITS Theatre is best known for their annual July festival which brings only the best productions from the National Arts Festival in Makhanda to Joburg for one whole week. The WITS Theatre 969 Festival got its name from the fact that Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), is approximately 969km from Johannesburg. Many Joburgers are unable to make the yearly pilgrimage to the sleepy Eastern Cape town, which is where WITS Theatre steps in.

The 969 Festival is structured similarly to the NAF format. Multiple shows are staged each day, allowing audiences to experience the festival vibe. You can also pop up to the theatre’s snack bar for refreshments between shows. Chat to fellow theatre enthusiasts in the lobby, or take a moment to reflect upon what you have seen, heard and learnt about the arts. The 969 Festival has been delighting Joburg audiences for 16 years. Join them this July for a line-up of 14 of the best comedy, drama and physical theatre productions directly from the NAF. As a bonus, there will be a couple of exciting student productions to see. So, don’t miss out on the 2019 edition of WITS Theatre’s 969 Festival.

WITS Main Theatre

What’s On?

Comedy 

In need of a good belly laugh? The WITS Theatre 969 Festival presents a line-up of female led comedy shows this season.

Thuderbirds Comedy

The Thunderbirds is an all-conquering female trio of comedians. Touring the country with their off the wall, unhinged, unapologetic brand of girl power comedy. This one is not for the faint of heart, or young of age – no under 18’s allowed. Hold onto your seats, this is one helluva ride!

Written, directed and performed by Gilli Apter, Nina Hastie and Claudine Ullman.

When Is It?

Friday, 19 July 2019 at 21:00.

Where Is It?

WITS Theatre, Downstairs theatre.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost between R30 – R85 per person. Get yours here!

Artificially Infeminated

Artificially Infeminated is directed by funnyman Rob van Vuuren. Starring Claudine Ullman in her debut solo stand up comedy show. Exploring the intricacies of being a pale white, chubby, cis gender female, who also happens to be the middle child in a Jewish family (#millenialslovelabels). Claudine hilariously examines her childhood infatuation with becoming famous, as well as her current infatuation with her double chin, thigh gaps, complaining and how watching The Secret repeatedly isn’t the secret to getting rich. She plays multiple characters, discussing deep questions that explore the human condition. The battle between men and women, the battle between gym and tennis biscuits and so on. Artificially Infeminated is a super fresh approach to stand-up comedy, so don’t miss it!

When Is It?

Saturday, 20 July 2019 at 20:00.

Where Is It?

WITS Theatre, Downstairs theatre.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost between R30 – R85 per person. Get yours here!

WITS Theatre 969 Festival
Artificially Infeminated

Drama

Love a little drama? This year’s 969 Festival features a great line-up of South African dramas inspired by our country’s past, present and future. Meshing poetry, prose and visual theatre, these dramas will take you on a journey of self reflection.

Fruit 

Paul Noko’s Fruit is a fragile story about a little girl, Matlakala who grows up in a township ravaged by crime and poverty. A performance filled with innocence and purity, Matlakala (played by Matshidiso Mokoteli) uses the indigenous game called “masikitla” to tell her story. At the age of 14, she receives her first doll Lucy, who becomes her make belief confidante. Trapped in her childhood memories, she claims back her innocence through storytelling.

When Is It?

Thursday, 18 July 2019 at 21:00, Saturday, 20 July 2019 at 18:00 and Sunday, 28 July 2019 at 16:30.

Where Is It?

WITS Theatre, Downstairs theatre.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost between R30 – R85 per person. Get yours here!

Unfathomable

Unfathomable is an image based work that wades, drifts, floats through the waters of unprocessed grief. The play seeks out the ghostly presences of those gone and those still alive. To understand their liveliness in death, and their ghostliness in life. Tracing the histories of her father and grandmother in a poetic play between materials, body and words, the captivating Alex Halligey takes the audience on a swim through lives that couldn’t be contained and those that stayed small for fear of the size of their spirit.

When Is It?

Thursday, 25 July 2019 at 18:30 and Friday, 26 July 2019 at 18:00.

Where Is It?

WITS Theatre, Main Theatre.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost between R30 – R85 per person. Get yours here!

Unfathomable (photo by Mark Wessels)

Dance/ Physical Theatre

Empty (W)raps

Empty (W)raps is a series of deconstructed monologues presented through elements of song, poetry and physical theatre. Four women are a facet of each other. Empty (W)raps examines their thoughts and experiences, which are a result of loss, uncertainty, love, hate and broken relationships. They occupy a space filled only with empty boxes, a visual metaphor for the unstable spaces of their minds.

When Is It?

Wednesday, 24 July 2019 at 18:00, Thursday, 25 July 2019 at 20:30 and Friday, 26 July 2019 at 20:00.

Where Is It?

WITS Theatre, Downstairs Theatre.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost between R30 – R85 per person. Get yours here!

Gas Lands

Bailey Snyman’s Gas Lines is a poetic meditation on the displacement of women due to war, trafficking and migration in the 21st century. Set in a dystopian future, this dance work explores the challenges of crossing borders into the unknown. Gas Lands is ultimately a statement on resilience in the face of adversity. It is a sad, yet hopeful story -a requiem for all women and men who have carved a path from the past into the present and beyond the future.

When Is It?

Sunday, 28 July 2019 at 15:00.

Where Is It?

WITS Theatre, Main Theatre.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost between R30 – R85 per person. Get yours here!

Gas Lands

Kids

WITS Theatre haven’t forgotten about the kids either. Bring them along for a special day out in the city.

The Young Scientist

The Young Scientist debates how we form images of scientists for children. The play asks, “Can we view children as scientists and complete humans? And, do adults give a fair chance to children to perform to their fullest potential?” Suitable for all ages.

When Is It?

Thursday, 25 July 2019 at 17:00, Friday, 26 July 2019 at 16:00 and Saturday, 27 July 2019 at 15:00.

Where Is It?

WITS Theatre, Downstairs Theatre.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost R30 – R85 per person. Get yours here!

WITS Theatre 969 Festival

For more information

View the full WITS Theatre 969 Festival programme on their website or on Webtickets.  Follow them on social media for event updates:

Facebook – facebook.com/Wits-Theatre-103193993052344

Twitter – twitter.com/witstheatre

Instagram – instagram.com/witstheatre

Contact them on 011 717 1381 or via email at lerato.sekele@wits.ac.za

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