Press: Obs Family Festival 20th-28th March 2015 at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective


The Obs Family Festival, presented by ASSITEJ SA and Theatre Arts Admin Collective, presents the 8th instalment of one of the most cutting edge independent theatre programmes in the country, created specifically for young audiences and families. Running from 20 – 28 March, the festival is a unique showcase of independent, thought-provoking and imaginative work for audiences from one-year-olds and up!


The Festival addresses the main barriers to entry that young audiences face to access theatre. In particular these barriers include age-appropriate content, transport and local accessibility, timing of shows and the stigma of children’s theatre. Caroline Calburn of the TAAC says, “The Obs Family Festival is a rare opportunity for children, their families and teachers to see exciting and innovative theatre made specifically for young audiences.  The work is significant in respecting the intellectual, emotional and artistic capacities of our children.  We believe that good theatre for children is good theatre for adults too”. The festival has made ticket and transport subsidies available to ensure that no audiences are turned away, while keeping the general prices affordable for families.


The rich and diverse programme includes two international companies, with the renowned physical theatre company Theatre Complicité from the UK performing the exciting circus adventure  ‘Lion Boy’ at the Baxter Theatre, and Danish company Theatre Patraskat, with three decades of experience, presenting “Friendship” and “Einstein for Beginners”, a wacky introduction to the life of the renowned thinker and inventer. To enhance the educational and magical experience of “Einstein for Beginners”, audiences can also enjoy a special visit to the Cape Town Science Centre.


As part of the ASSITEJ World Day on March 20th and “Take a Child to the Theatre Today” campaign, The Obs Family Festival is offering an incredibly reduced ticket price to see two international productions (‘Lion Boy’ and ‘Einstein for Beginners’) on the same day, and participate in workshops (R65). There is also a special “free ticket and bus” offer to school children for “Lion Boy” performances, as well as opportunities to interact directly with the company.


“Making Mandela” by Jenine Collocott (which has spent several years in the making), comes to Cape Town fresh from its debut run at the State Theatre. The piece, described by reviewer Christina Kennedy as “an unmitigated delight to watch” has strong curriculum connections to South African history and provides a fresh insight into the young life of the future leader and world icon, at the time when the meaning of his name, “trouble-maker” was a more appropriate description than the “peace-maker” he would ultimately become known for being. Jenine is one of ASSITEJ and TAAC’s Inspiring a Generation mentees, who after experiencing international theatre for young audiences in Denmark, is now committed to bringing the same level of quality performance to South African audiences. This production appears at the festival thanks to support from Distell for the mentorship and from the National Arts Council’s commitment to Congress Incubation and showcasing, which is part of a prorgamme of support to ASSITEJ SA in preparation for hosting the 2017 ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival in Cape Town.


The experimental “Into the Fairytale” is a sensory labyrinth for age 4-10, created and performed by Heike Brunner, Valerie Geselev, Laen Herchler, Xolisa Kapakati, Given Mkhondo, Janet Ranson,  Margot van Wauwe, Wendy Hitchcock and Nompumele Rakabe.   It promises to be a memorable interactive experience where fairytales come alive and where the theatre of the mind is stimulated. Another cutting edge work is “Half Bread Technique / Post Capitalism for Beginners”, written by Martin Schick (Switzerland / SA), curated by Valeria Geselev and performed and choreographed by Crezelda Maraba, which confronts audiences with provocative ideas around money and economics. “Imagine an internationally acclaimed artist standing on an empty stage and offering to share his fame and salary with the audience: “who takes half of the stage and half of the money?”


Theatre for the early years is featured at Obs Family Festival with three strong original works for the very young, aged 1–5. Apart from two highly successful productions, “Patchwork” and “Nomvula”, which premiered last year, “Pushmi Pullyu” is a new work for early years from ASSITEJ SA mentee company UKAO, developed with support from the Theatre Arts Admin Collective Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary programme, as well as the International Fund for Cultural Diversity funding to ASSITEJ SA from UNESCO. The piece playfully explores through visual images and physical theatre, the opposites we all experience in life, and the balance we need to strike between individual desires and co-operation.


Apart from the programme for primary and high schools, there is a host of works to entertain the whole family and older audiences. Slam champion poets from Lingua Franca will take audiences 16+ on a roller-coaster ride of emotion, philosophy, spoken word and music. Visiting artists from Hamburg in the Eastern Cape bring “Indalo” a beautiful indigenous art/music interpretation of Saint-Saens ‘Carnival of the Animals’ exploring the closeness of the amaXhosa with animals. This production by Keiskamma Music Academy, co-written and directed by Mojalefa Koyana and Kyla Davis, promises to be a fantastic family experience.


As Yvette Hardie, President of ASSITEJ now present in almost 100 countries, says in her 2015 World Day Message, “I am one of the lucky ones… from my earliest years, I remember my parents taking me to the theatre…” ASSITEJ believes that theatre provides unique and memorable opportunities for inter-generational dialogue through shared experiences, breaking down barriers to communication and creating space for important conversations and shared enjoyment, so that families “grow up and grow together through the theatre”.


The Obs Family Festival programme spans two weekends and the last week of the first school term. This is an ideal opportunity for teachers attend work, particularly over the weekends, to choose work that they might want to invite to perform at their school for their particular class at a later stage. As part of ASSITEJ SA’s ongoing efforts to bridge the gap between theatre and education, teachers will be issued with a copy of the 2015/6 ASSITEJ SA Theatre4Youth Catalogues, which is a comprehensive guide to theatre for youth companies across South Africa and which will further increase the access to theatre for children around the province and country.


For the full programme visit the website.


Special ASSITEJ World Theatre Day Programme: Grades 6-9

12h00 – 21h30 (including Science Centre experience, “Einstein for Beginners”, Lion Boy workshop, “Lion Boy”, with an option for “Secret Flames”): R65 only


We also offer special programmes for schools that might want to see more than 1 performance.



12s and under R20

13+ R40

Workshops, science centre etc R15



PLEASE NOTE – There are both transport and ticket subsidies, including a partially subsidised ticket for the Science Centre, available for schools in need.

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