The magic of children’s theatre

Saarah Saarah Survé

“When adults see a production, it influences them and they talk about it. But when a child sees one, their whole world changes. You transport them to a magical place.”

Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse
PHOTO: Saarah Surve

Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck, known for her characters Dowwe Dolla and Liewe Heksie, believes that there is magic in children experiencing and engaging with theatre.

“Children believe what you create on stage, as opposed to adults, who create boundaries around themselves. So, it’s wonderful to create and work for children,” said Meyer-Rödenbeck.

She explained that in a children’s theatre production, they coax children into engaging and ask them questions, so that they become the problem solvers or another part of the production.

“Children watch TV and computer screens all the time, but that doesn’t teach them to engage.”

She is worried that if we do not continue to educate children in the theatre, we will lose that future generation.

“In this country, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to get kids into the theatre and make them theatre-goers,” Meyer-Rödenbeck said.

Hanli Brink, Managing Director of Lollos Productions, agrees that there is a definite need for children’s theatre in South Africa.

Lollos is an Afrikaans edutainment show for children, and there will soon be an English version.

“You can watch Barney, but kids can relate more to South African shows where you teach them about our country and facts like the names of the provinces,” says Brink.

“We’ll teach children about eating healthy, but it will be through a song or a dance or another fun way. We have one song called smarties and tamaties, and it says eat your tamaties before you eat your smarties. It’s catchy, so it sticks in their heads. It’s education, but in a fun, memorable way,” said Brink.

Vox pops from children at the show Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse:

The show is about a mouse called Petal, who nobody will listen to, because she is too small. These children are all students at Academy Private School in Kuils River. This trip was a cultural outing, which their principal, a drama teacher, arranged.

“It was awesome. The lesson was don’t judge a book by its cover.” – Anika, grade 7

“I really liked the play, because it taught me about honey badgers and other animals. I learnt: don’t judge by size.” – Nicci, grade 7

“I liked the play a lot. Everything was funny. I think that the message was: treat people like you want to be treated.” – Thabo, grade 6

“I liked the play and the buffalo. He was really funny. I loved the part when he asked if I liked rugby, and he pulled his eyes weird. The moral of the story is don’t judge a book by its cover. I also liked the classy music and the beat. I like how the play was set out. It was really interesting and inspired me.” – Bogynne, grade 6

“The guitar and the singing was nice. The buffalo was funny. The show taught me not to judge other people.” – Lifa, grade 4







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