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PRESS: Theatre Arts shines light on the impact of load shedding in the THEATRE IN THE DARK season

Neo Gumede


In a world theatrical first for South Africa, Theatre Arts, one of Cape Town’s foremost theatres, is taking to the boards to shine the spotlight on the impact of load shedding on the nation with Theatre in the Dark, a brilliant new season of eleven moving productions, from 15 to 25 February 2024.

International and local audiences are invited to witness 10 days of experimental theatre that creates intimate imaginary landscapes in an Eskom-free season. There has never been anything like it!

Supported by the National Arts Council through the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme and the Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture (DSAC), Theatre in the Dark will attempt the seemingly impossible - staging 11 productions that are held at the Theatre Arts building in Observatory, Cape Town, and at various sites throughout beautiful Cape Town without putting a strain on the national grid or taxing Eskom’s resources.

The brainchild of Caroline Calburn, Theatre Arts’s visionary director, this world-first theatrical season will explore embracing the darkness and finding the light within. Calburn is thrilled to bring this innovative concept to audiences:

“While trying to plan a season at the beginning of the year with Stage 6 load shedding and equipment that had been affected adversely by these rolling blackouts, I dreamt of what it would look like to not have these worries, and an unplugged season i.e. work in the dark, was the first thing that sprung to mind. I believe that artists need to respond to the times and that adversity results in innovation. Gone are the days when we could rely on plugging a light into a wall. Theatre in the Dark is going to be an illuminating experience for everyone!”

Using the inspiration of darkness, alternate lighting sources, what is and is not illuminated, and embracing the magic of sound, the Theatre in the Dark season will feature the following productions:

  • An Evening In the Company of Grief: Starring acclaimed actress Robyn Scott and directed by the esteemed Lara Bye, this production brings the mourning experience to light.

  • Bat: Performed by the popular Capetonian improv group, ImproGuise in a theatre in complete darkness, this show will see improvisers weave together different characters, scenes, and storylines in the format of an old-time radio play.

  • Cantos of a Life in Exile: A captivating tale of finding one's true self, this delicate work is created and performed by Makhaola Ndebele, a Johannesburg-based creative.

  • Diapason: A two-hander sensory symphony composed of light, sound, and shadows, Diapason is performed and directed by its creators Nawaal Adams and Savannah Steyn.

  • Djeli: Directed by Mmatumisang Motsisi, Djeli is imagined as an immersive spiritual experience, where the audience will encounter a darkness that holds more life than death.

  • Eat the Stars: A meditation in dance, poetry, and space on the metaphor of human stories in a cosmic context. Eat the Stars is directed by Jaqueline Dommisse.

  • In Transit: A comedy-drama that is informed by existentialism and absurdism highlighted by the use of light and dark, this show is directed by Sibahle Mabaso, Bloemfontein’s brightest star.

  • Love’s Light: An aural feast for audiences, Love’s Light is created and performed by Lisa-Marie van Wyk who hails from the small town of Worcester.

  • Red Boots: This show, directed by Caroline Calburn, is an original, visual-dance performance, created specifically for the 1 to 3-year-old age group.

  • The Flowers at Night: Megan Nell from Johannesburg directs this play which explores the wonder and beauty of our heritage of indigenous flowers, which grow and blossom in the most impossible conditions.

  • The Heart of the Ocean: Created for 3 to 7-year-olds by Danish quirky-creative Jori Snell, The Heart of the Ocean is a tale of friendship, loss, courage, and a tribute to the forces of nature and the imagination.

Calburn welcomes the support of the National Arts Council for this one-of-a-kind theatrical experience:

“We are deeply thankful to the National Arts Council for supporting this inaugural season of work and enabling artists to be creative and innovative in trying times. We hope that this season will not be the last and that it can grow and develop to capture the imagination of our audiences.”

Tickets for the Theatre in the Dark season will be available online at from 15 December 2023. For exciting updates about the shows, please follow Theatre Arts on Instagram and Facebook.


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