Since 2014, Magnet Theatre has engaged in developing new exciting age appropriate African theatre for under seven year olds. Thanks to input from Roberto Frabetti (La Barracca, Bologna, Italy) within the context of the Full Time Training and Job Creation programme Magnet Theatre was able to develop the award winning TREE/BOOM/UMTHI which has subsequently had 4 international tours. They were also able to skill a whole cohort of young theatre makers in the art of developing work for young audiences. Magnet Theatre was fortunate to be the successful recipient of a 2015 National Arts Council Flagship grant for the establishment of a small youth company charged with developing 3 new performance pieces for the 0 – 7 age group. During this year 3 new works were created: Ekhaya, KNOCK! (also with the support of the Goethe Institute and Helios Theatre Compnay, Germany) and SCOOP: Kitchen play for Carers and Babes (with the support of SA/UK Seasons and Anna Newall from Replay Theatre Company in Ireland). Scoop was the first ever South African work for moms and babes under the age of 12 months and performed in hospitals and clinics in and around Cape Town. Since then and again thanks to the Goethe Institute and Helios, Magnet Theatre has incubated a further 4 works within the context of the training program at Magnet: AHA! directed by Nwabisa Plaaitjie; Paired, Directed by Lwanda Sindaphi; Woodways ( with trainee particaipants from Cameroon and Kenya) Sandscapes ( From Zimbabwe and Nigeria). KNOCK! has toured to Italy, USA adn Canada and along with Sandscape has performed in the Rocking the Cradle Main Festival at the Assitej World Congress in Cape Town in 2017. AHA! and Paired have toured to Hellwach in Germany (2017/2018) and AHA! has also performed at the Assitej Artistic gathering in China 2018.
In 2018 thanks again to the Goethe Institut in Johanesburg, Magnet Theatre partnered with Helios Theater from Germany to incubate 6 new works with the 2017/2018 cohort of trainees. Invited also were 6 participants from Uganda, Botswana and Mozmbique. Productions created were derived from differnet materials- UBIZO (stones), SH! (newspaper), Rockin’ Mbokodo (stones), Reshape (newspaper), Play alone – curtain raiser (paper), Transform (Clay and wood) and Plastika (plastic). All works premiered at the Magnet Family Festival in August 2018.
Plastika and Transform were handed over to the creators to product themselves and both shows have toured internationally with Plastika winning the Playful Theatre Acces to the Development of Environmental Awareness for Children Award at the Naj, Naj, Naj international festival in Zagreb, Croatia. Sh! and Rockin’ Mbokodo performed at the Baxter Theatre as part of the Assitej Rocking the Cradle Festival in 2018. Rockin’ Mbokodo has also performed in Nigeria at the Kift Festival in 2019 and SH! at the Sharjah International Fringe Festival in the UAE in 2020.
Magnet Theatre’s latest work STONE PLAY was due to premier at the Visioni 2020 festival in Bologna Italy but the invitation has been postponed due to the Covid 19 outbreak until March 2021. It will have it world premier at the Baxter Theater in Cape Town in June 2020. See below a link to the short promo of Stone Play: