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Cape Town Fringe: a spark to set children’s imaginations alight

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Arts & Culture, Education, Social & Community
Family-friendly fare is part of the programme on offer at this year’s Cape Town Fringe arts festival and ranges from the deliciously absurd to the ele

MAGICAL productions aimed at igniting children’s imaginations are on the programme of this year’s Cape Town Fringe arts festival, which runs from 24 September to 4 October. Motivated by a desire to develop new audiences, this year’s Fringe programme has been carefully crafted to appeal to broader and younger audiences than those that traditionally frequent theatres.

‘Fringe festivals give us the impetus to engage the arts to heal ourselves from our past, to unravel truths about our current challenges, to envision hope for the future and to sometimes just temporarily escape into oblivion,’ Ismail Mahomed, the Fringe’s artistic director, writes in his introduction to the 2015 programme.

Most of the 71 productions on the programme this year are suitable for younger audiences, ranging from the delicate and enchanting What Goes UP…, which targets three- to seven-year-olds, through to school set works such as the adaption of Athol Fugard’s People are Living There, to the edgier Blood Orange, which tells the story of a young boy growing up in apartheid South Africa.

‘If we want children and young people to play a pro-active and positive role in our society, we need to engage their curiosity, their imaginations and their hearts from as early an age as possible,’ says Yvette Hardie, director of ASSITEJ SA, the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People. ‘Theatre can speak to them in ways other media cannot – through a live exchange of energy that challenges their attention and demands them to be present.’

Hardie has challenged theatregoers in Cape Town to share their Fringe experience with a child: ‘Every child needs access to the theatre - regardless of their circumstances,’ she says. ‘ASSITEJ SA challenges everyone with the means to take a child to the theatre.’

ASSITEJ has curated six productions to form the Family Fare platform at the Fringe this year. ‘Our programme is about celebrating diversity and will appeal to audiences of a primary school age,’ Hardie says. Family Fare productions include: How Stories Began, Warrior on Wheels, Incredible Journey, Maltese Folktales, Ngumzimba Wam, and What Goes UP…, NguMzimba Wam, which tells the stories of three young children facing difficult circumstances, and the inventive Waterline, a story of a young man’s search for water, are just two of a number of productions that use puppets and masks to help weave their spell.

ĦREJJEF Maltese Folktales, a mystical show from Malta, also blends storytelling with shadow puppets, music and digital animation.

Another unmissable international collaboration is Australian duo Jamie MacDowell & Tom Thum. These two outstanding musicians redefine musical parameters through their unique combination of Jamie’s heartfelt song writing and Tom’s heavy-hitting, world-class beatboxing.

Opportunities for schools

  • The Cape Town Fringe Day Out: Specially designed for groups of learners from Grade 7 to 11, this package offers schools a full-day experience at the Cape Town Fringe. Incorporating two workshops, two performances, lunch and cold drinks, learners will leave the City Hall hub inspired, invigorated and entertained. The price varies, depending on the productions and workshops that are included in the package, but will be around R6 000 for 15 learners, including transport to and from the City Hall. We are also partnering with sponsors to offer the package to schools that are unable to afford the fee – so contact us if you’re keen to involve your learners – or if you’d like to sponsor a group to attend: boxoffice@capetownfringe.co.za
  • Package discounts – Full House: These packages have been specially selected for schools and community groups to use as fundraisers. You receive 50% discount on the normal full price if you purchase all the tickets in the venue for a particular show. You can then sell these tickets at the full price (or a price you determine), and your school or organisation benefits from the difference. Dates and times for these performances will be arranged to your preferences pending venue and artists’ availability. To book a Full House performance, please contact the Box Office Manager on boxoffice@capetownfringe.co.za.

A selection of family-friendly shows

Adam Small Bejazzed (Musical theatre): A musical tribute to poet Adam Small, featuring Natalia da Rocha. [Applauz Arts Initiative] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/adam-small-bejazzed/

Being Norm (English)/Jan Alleman (Afrikaans): The unforgettable Richard Antrobus presents a day in the extraordinarily ordinary life of Norm/Jan. Grades 4 to 12. [Oddbody Theatre] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/being-norm/

Blood Orange (Theatre): The story of Gecko, a boy who has an oblique way of seeing the world. From the novel by Troy Blacklaws. Grades 4 to 12. [Untouchable Productions/Craig Morris] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/blood-orange/

District 6 to Paris (Physical theatre): Mime extraordinaire John Jacobs returns to Cape Town after 20 years in Paris to bring short stories that are sure to touch everyone. [Mime Theatre Productions] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/district-6-to-paris/

Ella’s Horses (Theatre): True and poignant story of horse whisperer Ella Gordon. Winner of a Standard Bank Ovation Award. Grades 8 to 12 [Charles J Fourie Productions] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/ellas-horses/

Egoli (Theatre): A musical theatre production of a young rural woman’s search for her husband, missing in the big, fast and dangerous city. All grades. [Poppiehuis, presented by the Baxter Theatre] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/egoli/

ĦREJJEF ‘Maltese Folktales’ (Musical theatre, Puppetry and Animation): Traditional folk tales told by a narrator accompanied by a grand piano, shadow puppetry and digital animation. [Soundscapes/ASSITEJ] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/hrejjef-maltese-folktales/

Last Cow Standing (Comedy drama): Epic comedic fantasy about a young boy chosen to save the dying herds of his people. All grades. [Nu-Breed Theatre Company] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/last-cow-standing/

How Stories Began (Theatre): Set in ancient times on the Wild Coast, Manzandaba and Zenzele go on an adventure in search of stories. Wonderful insight into how local heritage lives today. Presented in English and isiXhosa. Ages 4 and up. [Jungle Theatre Company, presented by ASSITEJ] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/how-stories-began/

Magic Through the Ages (Illusion): From ancient Egypt all the way to the latest TV magic specials, explore the rich history of magic with Brendon Peel. All grades. [Brendon Peel] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/magic-through-the-ages

Mooi Street Moves (Theatre): A modern South African classic by Paul Slabolepszy. Grades 4 to 12. [Nompumelelo Mtshali] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/mooi-street-moves/

NguMzimba Wam (Puppetry): 'I am a hero and this is my body, when someone else touches it I say NO.' Three children are faced with tough challenges when they go home after school. All ages. [Art of Hearts/ASSITEJ] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/ngumzimba-wam/

On and On (Dance): An opportunity to see athletic and inspiring dance performed by Cape Junior Ballet Company's talented dancers. High school. [Cape Junior Ballet Company] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/on-and-on/

People Are Living There (Theatre): Adapted from Athol Fugard’s well-known play. (Hungry Minds Theatre Collective] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/people-are-living-there/

Rooivalk (Teater): Rooivalk word groot op ‘n plaas in Limpopo, tussen heinings wat lank voor sy geboorte al vir hom gespan is. Met Fiësta Fleur du Cap- en Kanna wenner Richard September. Afrikaans met Engels. Hoërskool. [Nico Scheepers] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/rooivalk/

Sleight of Mouth 2 – Now Talk Your Way Out of This! (Illusion/ comedy): Marcel Oudejans presents a brand-new mix of surprises, illusions and laughter. Grades 4 to 12. [Marcel Oudejans] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/sleight-of-mouth-2

The Incredible Journey (Theatre): Once upon a time, a boy named Tommy was presented by a challenge from the new kid at school... Written by Tara Notcutt and Stefan Erasmus. Winner of a Standard Bank Ovation. Ages 10 and up. [KB Theatre Productions/ASSITEJ] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/the-incredible-journey/

Tom Thum and Jamie MacDowell (Music): This live show is a blend of carefully arranged and well-rehearsed music, punctuated by interactions highlighting just how talented this Australian duo is. All ages. [Theatreland Productions] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/tom-thum-jamie-macdowell/

Warrior on Wheels (Theatre): This fantastical tale of a disabled boy is told through the use of puppetry, physical animation and vibrant storytelling. Directed by Jayne Batzofin and produced by the Chaeli Campaign. Ages 7 and up. [The Chaeli Campaign/ASSITEJ] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/warrior-on-wheels/

Waterline (Theatre): A new mask work by Rob Murray (Crazy in Love), Waterline is comic and thought-provoking look at what happens when a town's taps run dry. Winner of a Standard Bank Ovation Award. Ages 10+. Accessible to all languages. [Uyabona Ke] See www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/waterline/

What Goes UP… (Theatre): Playful, gentle and explorative production devised to capture the imagination of young children. Ages 3 to 7 (with sign language). [FTH:K/ASSITEJ] See https://www.capetownfringe.co.za/events/what-goes-up/

Says the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Councillor Garreth Bloor. ‘The City of Cape Town is a proud sponsor of the Fringe Festival which attracts local and international participants and supporters. The Fringe has helped Cape Town earn the enviable reputation of an events destination of choice. Moreover, this event is part of the City’s commitment to secure events during low season to address the challenges of seasonality and boost visitor numbers. The festival builds on the City’s reputation as a year-round cultural tourism destination.’

About the Cape Town Fringe

  • The Cape Town Fringe runs for 11 days, from 24 September to 4 October.
  • There are 71 productions to choose from, with more than 60% of the artists hailing from the Western Cape.
  • Shows will be held at various venues in the city centre (City Hall, Alexander Bar, the Fugard), at the V&A Waterfront (the Amphitheatre, Jubilee Hall at the Watershed, and the Waterfront Theatre School’s Galloway Theatre) and Langa (Gugu S’thebe Cultural Centre).
  • All performances scheduled on 4 October – the last Sunday of the Cape Town Fringe – will be sold at 50%.
  • Produced by the experienced team at the National Arts Festival.
  • With grateful thanks to our host sponsor, the City of Cape Town, and Standard Bank, the presenting sponsor. Additional support from Exclusive Books and the V&A Waterfront.
  • Printed copies of the Cape Town Fringe 2015 programme can be found at selected branches of Exclusive Books and Standard Bank in Cape Town, as well as at selected Cape Town Tourism outlets, City of Cape Town offices and coffee shops and cafes around the city.
  • Download a PDF of the programme via the website: www.capetownfringe.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/CTFprogramme.pdf
  • For more info, bookings and secure ticket sales, visit www.capetownfringe.co.za
  • Box Office Call Centre: 0860 002 004 | Cape Town Fringe Hotline: 060 882 8316

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