Don’t miss the DUT Children’s Theatre Festival

Neil Coppen.

Neil Coppen.

The 2015 DUT Children’s Theatre Festival profiles award-winning playwright Neil Coppen and will feature four plays all penned by him, to be staged at the Courtyard Theatre at the Durban University of Technology on September 18 and again from September 21 to 23.

Hosted by the DUT Department of Drama and Performance Studies, the Children’s Theatre Festival is now in its fifth year and it is proud to profile and celebrate four plays by award-winning playwright Neil Coppen, an outstanding performer himself, who writes and directs his own works both in South Africa and internationally.

2014 saw internationally acclaimed storyteller Gcina Mhlophe centre stage of the Festival. In 2013 the department paid tribute to Prof Pieter Scholtz and the 2012 Children’s Theatre Festival profiled award winning playwright Clinton Marius, best known for writing the beloved Lollipop Lane series broadcast over the past four years on radio Lotus FM. In 2011 the festival was founded by Prof Debbie Lutge who invited Gisele Turner as the first children’s theatre writer to have her works performed by the students.

“Presenting works for children awakens cultural interest in young audiences, who are the future theatre patrons,” says Lutge.

The line-up for the festival, which will have two shows a day at 9.30 am and 11.30 am respectively, includes Marvellous Mixtures, The Fantastical Tale of Marika Morkels, Tin Bucket Drum and Grandpa Grump and the Magical Junk Shop.

Tin Bucket Drum is a delightful stage play using shadow puppetry. The work revolves around a dictator who tries to silence the community. A baby’s cry shatters the silence at birth. The mother is warned to control the infant but as the infant grows she finally counters the restrictions and brings freedom to Tin Town. For ages 10 and up. See it on Friday, September 18 and Wednesday, September 23.

Marvellous Mixtures is a play filled with comic irony and shadow puppetry. Two chickens narrate the story of how Matthew’s magic potion makes Ouma “humungous”. Mr Poempoenpip begins to envision a future of plenty and tries it out on the chickens but something goes wrong and the new batch is not exactly the same. Things shrink and finally all goes back to normal. Ages 10 and up. See it on Friday, September 18 and Tuesday, September

Grandpa Grump and the Magical Junk Shop finds Grandpa dressing as a super hero to track all the items he’s mislaid including his granddaughters gift, a rag doll named Molly. All the toys and junk in Grandpa Grump’s musical shop (with the participation of the audience) help with the treasure hunt and give Grandpa Grump clues to help him finally find the doll. (2003). For ages three to eight. See it on Monday, September 21 and Wednesday, September 23.

The Fantastical Tale of Marika Morkels is set in a school inspired by secrets and a few tricks. For ages six and up. See it on Friday, September 18 and Tuesday, September 22.

Tickets are R25 or R10 each for block bookings of 10 or more. Phone Lebohang Sibisi at 031 373 2194 or email lebohangs@dut.ac.za to book. The Courtyard Theatre is at Steve Biko Road, Ritson Campus, with parking at Gate 6.

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