“The visions we offer our children shape the future. It matters what those visions are. Often they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dreams are maps.” – Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Well Worn Theatre Company will present a season of theatre activism at the National Arts Festival, which runs from 27 June to 7 July in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown).

The season features work by directors Joni Barnard, Thembela Madliki and Kyla Davis, with performances by Lerato Sefoloshe, Sanelisiwe Yekani, Mlindeli Zondi, Jaques De Silva, Danieyella Rodin, Tebogo Machaba, Ameera Patel & Roberto Pombo.

Artistic director Kyla Davis said the company’s 2019 season of eco-focused family theatre would be featured on the Festival’s Main programme.

The season consists of four productions, one of which is a new addition to their popular touring theatre repertoire. At the Environmental Learning and Research Centre (ELRC), a new venue this year, audiences can catch GALELA, created by Thembela Madliki for primary school children. It centres around a water crisis in a small town and features themes of friendship and bravery. Young ones can also enjoy the magic of puppetry and a humorous sci-fi message of sustainability in PLASTOCRACY. RAT RACE, a play for the very young about learning how to slow down and enjoy nature, will be on at Memory Hall.

The season will also showcase BURNING REBELLION (ages 16+), a climate justice protest poem for teenagers, created by Joni Barnard aka Missy Phaya Fly at the Amazwi Amphitheatre (previously NELM). The writing of this activist poem was inspired by the brave protests of young people, such as Greta Thunberg, in youth-led climate strikes across the globe.

As well as their Family Season of eco-conscious theatre, visitors will also be able to see the company in action on the Performance Art line-up with SWARM THEORY, an experimental, site-specific, physical theatre exploration of a human hive mind.

Of the season, Davis says: “We feel honoured to have been invited onto the Main programme at this year’s NAF. It feels like a timely recognition of the eco-social justice theatre work that we have been producing and touring for over a decade. I say timely because the time has never been greater for us as families, grandparents, parents and guardians to be speaking to our children and young people about the climate crisis and the current state of our planet. Our productions are all age-specific with unique themes that may provide an entertaining and imaginative conversation starter for you and your family. We are very proud and excited to share this season with NAF audiences of all ages soon!”

Well Worn’s Theatre Activism Season forms part of the Main festival as well as the Re-Imagining Festival at the ELRC where the theme is “Creative Practice in Sustainability”. The company’s three-year touring theatre programme is generously supported by the National Lotteries Commission and ‘Rat Race’ was created in association with ASSITEJ SA. More details about the tour can be found on Well Worn’s website.

What’s on at NAF2019

BURNING REBELLION (Ages 16+) @ Amazwi Amphitheatre
Directed by Joni Barnard | Devised by the Cast
With Lerato Sefoloshe, Sanelisiwe Yekani, Mlindeli Zondi, Jaques De Silva
27 JUNE 17:00
28 JUNE 19:00
29 JUNE 16:00
Peformances are FREE!

GALELA (Ages 7 – 14) @ ELRC Courtyard
Directed by Thembela Madliki | Created by the Cast
With Lerato Sefoloshe, Mlindeli Zondi, Tebogo Machaba
27 JUNE 12:00
29 JUNE 12:00
Click here for tickets

PLASTOCRACY (Ages 13+) @ ELRC Room 20
Written and Directed by Kyla Davis | Created by the Cast
With Sanelisiwe Yekani, Lerato Sefoloshe, Mlindeli Zondi, Jaques De Silva, Danieyella Rodin
29 JUNE 14:00
30 JUNE 14:00
Click here for tickets

RAT RACE (Ages 4 – 6) @ Memory Hall
Written and Directed by Kyla Davis | Created by the Cast
With Ameera Patel and Roberto Pombo
28 JUNE 10:00
29 JUNE 12:00
30 JUNE 10:00
Click here for tickets

SWARM THEORY
Created by Kyla Davis, Daniel Buckland, Sanelisiwe Yekani, Lerato Sefoloshe, Mlindeli Zondi, Jaques De Silva, Tebogo Machaba, Danieyella Rodin, Ameera Patel, Roberto Pombo, Craig Morris, Nox Donyeli, Luvuyo Yanta and more.
3 JUNE 15:00
4 JUNE 13:00
5 JUNE 14:30
6 JUNE 13:00
7 JUNE 13:00
Performances are FREE