Youth get a go at the big stage

mentor: Market Theatre director James Ngcobo PHOTO: MOHAU MOFOKENG
mentor: Market Theatre director James Ngcobo PHOTO: MOHAU MOFOKENG

Theatre director and actor James Ngcobo says a country that does not understand the importance of passing the baton to the next generation of storytellers is without a soul.

Ngcobo, artistic director at the Market Theatre, was speaking at the launch of the Incubator Programme at the Market Theatre this week.

He said passing the baton to the youth will keep the performing industry alive. As someone who has tackled both stage and television successfully, Ngcobo will oversee the progress of the programme.

It is supported by the national Department of Arts and Culture, and is set to be rolled out at Windybrow Theatre in Hillbrow, Market Photo Workshop, Market Theatre Laboratory and the Market Theatre in Newtown.

About 120 young people will be mentored by the industry players in stage lighting, writing, directing and producing until June next year. "The aim of the incubator is to assist the young people coming out of university, hungry to tell their stories.

"The plan is to develop and make sure that they are ready to face the industry after the programme," Ngcobo said.

Ngcobo further said the industry needed to continue developing young people so there could be longevity in the sector.

"We need to create [a] space and platform for new voices . There is humility that needs to happen from both sides, where mentors learn from incubatees."

The programme will begin with theatre show Lepatata, to be staged at the Market Theatre in August. Industry experts like Tshiamo Mokgadi, Nomvula Molepo, Michael Maxwell, Nadia Cowen and Makhaola Ndebele are some for the mentors.

Ngcobo said mentees included graduates from Wits University and others from the Zwakala Community Theatre Festival and the Market Theatre Laboratory.

The same programme is running at the SA State Theatre in Pretoria.

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