Indigenous theatre company is born

THREE plays at Durban's Loft - Sitting Around the Fire, A Plague of Heroes and iThembalethu-Tshepang - are showcasing the launch of a new indigenous theatre company, Just in Time Productions.

All three plays tell distinctly South African stories and according to Just in Time producer Maurice Podbrey that's how they intend to keep it.

Podbrey teamed up with Durban theatre personality Bheki Mkhwane and Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa's Ntuthuko Khuzwayo to form Just in Time Productions.

The three said the main aim of Just in Time is "to create and stage productions in South African indigenous languages".

Podbrey said: "The plays are sure to excite, entertain and inspire. Each has a high level of theatricality, and performance skills are of a higher standard.

"Just In Time wants to begin a process of redressing the sad fact that there are few opportunities for indigenous work to have a meaningful presence on the main professional theatre circuit in South Africa."

About a decade ago, Podbrey founded MoPo Trust - a nonprofit charity organisation aimed at developing South African performing arts.

He said it was with the MoPo vision in mind that he formed Just in Time Productions.

The producers were moved when they heard that even theatre luminaries such as John Kani had never worked on a major full-length play in his own language.

"I wanted to invest some energy into trying to proactively address that," Podbrey said.

Sitting Around the Fire tells a story of four streetwise kids who have had their lives profoundly changed by a chance meeting with an old man.

A Plague of Heroes is a semi autobiographical piece set in the Greyville horse racing tote, while iThembalethu-Tshepang is based on an event that occurred seven years ago in Northern Cape, and poses a question: how can a community brutalised by years of neglect protect its own children?

Booking is through Computicket or call 031-369-9540.

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