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969 Festival 2019

Wits Theatre’s 969 Festival celebrates its 16th birthday this year with a lineup of 14 productions in dance, music, drama and comedy.

The Festival runs from 18-28 July at the Wits Theatre in Braamfontein which will showcase work from all over the Country. We aim to create a cosy and warm environment where patrons can enjoy a drink or two before a show.  Patrons will be able to take in two to three shows when visiting the theatre as it is in a festival format.  

This year’s line-up has three award winners fresh off the stages of Makhanda National Arts Festival: Fruit, Unfathomable and Currently Gold. The Wits School of Music has its annual Wits Trio Concert playing at the Atrium on 21 July which usually draws a large crowd due to its’s popularity. This years’ Theatre and Performance production which has played at NAF is a double bill “ Two Can Play” and features some talented TAP students including a young Sax player. The Wits Theatre - Division of the Wits School of Arts will feature productions for all age groups i.e the Young Scientist – a mother and daughter initiative which will appeal to children from 4 years old.

Two Can Play (20, 24, 25, 26, 27 July)

Double Bill as Follows:

Part One

In South Africa, Fingers are used as a signal whether for transport, communal communication or to offend, in the busy setting of the city, fingers work as a signal for something based on time and context. 2 Fingers @ work is a reference to how ones fingers can be a sign of either success or a great downfall. The story follows Lwando Mkhize from the Eastern Cape who is a fine arts prodigy, whose talent is placed with his fingers, in his community he doesn't fit the patriarchal figure of masculinity. He's an artist; a gift he shares with his mother who is a dress make. His father, younger brother and him have a difficult relationship.

Part Two

The play is set in two different worlds, a blue world and a brown world. It follows the lives of two university students, Themba, a Black 21 year old male studying Politics and Hope a White 20 year old student studying Drama at the same University. These two live lives separately in their blue and brown worlds. These two individuals come from their two distinct worlds, meet one day at a campus counselling group session which focuses on issues of identity. Themba addresses his bourgeoning regret with the decision he took of studying politics that was mainly driven by his parents, while his lifelong passion for acting continues to linger.

Performers: Mongezi Ntukwana, Alex Sono, Megan Miller, Mathapelo Wesinyane, Keitumetse Mbatha

Director: Naledi Modipa, Kamogelo Theledi

Set and Costume: Naledi Modipa and Kamogelo Theledi

Dates and Times:

  • 20 July@14:00
  • 24 July@13:15
  • 25 July@13:15
  • 26 July@18:00
  • 27 July@16:00

Venue: Downstairs Theatre

Age Restriction: PG13

Running Time: 75 min

Fruit (18, 20, 28 July)

Fruit is a fragile story about a little girl Matlakala who grows up in a Township ravaged by crime and poverty. A story with innocence and purity

Performer: Matshidiso Mokoteli

Director: Paul Noko

Writer: Paul Noko

Lighting Designer: Bongani Mofokeng


  • 18 July@21:00
  • 20 July@18:00
  • 28 July@16:30

Venue: Downstairs

Running Time: 45 min

Age Restriction: All

2 Dee (18, 27, 28 July)

Tuck into a feast of exquisite shadow puppetry: 2 Dee explores thespectacular versatility of this ancient art-form through a collection ofpoetry and short stories. Prepare to be captivated and delighted by the meeting of light and shadow and charmed by the improvised poetry and hilarious audience participation. Avril Cummins will leave you wondering why we ever thought we needed three dimensions.

Performer: Avril Cummins

Writer: Avril Cummins

Director: Avril Cummins

Composer: The Perch Creek Family Jug Band

Lighting Designer: Avril Cummins


  • 18 July@19:45
  • 27 July@19:30
  • 28 July@14:00

Venue: Amphitheatre

Running Time: 50 min

Age Restriction: All

Currently(G)Old (16, 20, 21 July)

Does the youth of South Africa know what their Human Rights are? How to exercise these rights? Are Human Rights accessible to everyone. Are they realistic in our lived experiences? Set against the background of South Africa's current social-political context this play explores how young South Africans perceive their Human Rights. The play uses satire to interrogate and at times ridicule their relevance in real life.

Performer/s: Sibahle Mangena, Thuli Nduvane, Molatelo Tracy Maffa, Vusi Nkwenkwezi

Director: Aalliyah Matintela, Sinenhlanhla Mgeyi

Written By: Divised by Cast

Lighting Designer: Aalliyah Matintela

Mentor: Prince Lamla

Produced By: Hayleigh Evans, Rudy Motseatsea, Kwasa Theatre Company


  • 19 July@18:00
  • 20 July@16:00
  • 21 July@15:00

Venue: Amphitheatre

Running Time: 50 min

Age Restriction: 13+

Joël Leonard does scenes from Hamlet (19, 21, 25 July)

The play is a series of skits surrounding various news stories that graced the headlines over the last five years-including the Oscar Pistorius love story, the Vicki Momberg first time offence and the #FEESMUSTFALL soapie. Joel Leonard believes that the world needs his solo version of Hamlet. But the world wants something else . His snap out of the comfort zone, sees him hurtling down a dark road as he flops between shorts like a conduit of the Comedy Devil.

Performer/s: Joel Leonard

Director: Harry Adu Faulkner

Written By: Harry Adu Faulkner and Joel Leonard

Costume and Set Designer: Harry Adu Faulkner and Joel Leonard

Lighting Designer: Harry Adu Faulkner and Joel Leonard

Other Credits: Mentored by Kgafela oa Mogogodi, Myer Taub and Neka Da Costa


  • 19 July@19:45
  • 21 July@17:00
  • 25 July@21:00

Venue: Amphitheatre

Running Time: 50 min

Age Restriction: PG13 LS

Thunderbirds Comedy (19 July)

The Thunderbirds is an all-conquering female trio of comedians that has been touring the country with their off the wall, unhinged, unapologetic brand of girl power comedy. Fasten your seatbelts boys and girls, this show is one helleva of a ride!

Performer/s: Gilli Apter, Nina Hastie, Claudine Ullman

Director: Gilli Apter, Nina Hastie, Claudine Ullman

Written By: Gilli Apter, Nina Hastie, Claudine Ullman

Lighting Designer: Gilli Apter, Nina Hastie, Claudine Ullman

Costume and Set Design: Gilli Apter, Nina Hastie, Claudine Ullman


  • 19 July@21:00

Venue: Downstairs

Running Time: 75 minutes

Age Restriction: 18+

Artificially Infeminated (20 July)

Artificially Infeminated, directed by award winning comedian Rob Van Vuuren, is Claudine's debut one woman stand up comedy show that explores the intricacies of being cis gender female, pale white, chubby, Jewish and middle child in Jo'burg #millenialslovelabels. Claudine explores everything from her childhood infatuation with becoming famous, to her current infatuation with her double chin. Other topics include thigh gaps, complaining and how watching The Secret repeatedly isn't the secret to getting rich - which is the real secret - are you following? Playing multiple characters, she discusses deep questions that explore the human condition like the battle between men and women and the battle between gym and tennis biscuits….

This show is a fresh, hilarious and surprising take on stand up comedy and will leave you thigh clapping for more. If you don't like it, you can always ask to speak to the manager.

Performer/s: Claudine Ullman

Director: Rob Van Vuuren

Written and designed: Claudine Ullman

Lighting Designer: Claudine Ullman


  • 20 July @20:00

Venue: Downstairs

Running Time: 75 min

Age Restriction: 18+

Because Life Happens (20, 28 July)

Peaceful Thulare and Ntokozo Deyi take us on a comedic journey through the colourful way they perceive the world. "Because Life Happens" this world can be cold and cruel. They remedy this through the gift of laughter. Come get your dose from Dr Thulare and Doctor Deyi.

Performer: Ntokozo Deyi and Peaceful Thulare

Director: Nhlanhla Sicelo Mnisi

Written By: Ntokozo Deyi and Peaceful Thulare


  • 20 July@21:30/Downstairs
  • 28 July@19:45/Main Theatre

Venue: As above dates

Running Time: 45min

Age Restriction: All

Empty (W)raps (24, 25, 26 July)

Empty (W)raps is a series of deconstructed monologues broken down into thoughts and experiences. These thoughts and experiences are a result of loss, uncertainty, love, hate and broken relationships that has manifested in the lives of four women. These four women are a facet of each other and are occupying a space that is filled with empty boxes. This obscure space that the women occupy is filled with boxes and we get a sense that this space is actually existing in their minds.

The unfolding of the thought provoking conversations and confrontations are a discovery of deeply embedded and hidden experiences that the four women have had to deal with in their lives. Empty(W)raps has elements of song and physical theatre, explored through deconstructed monologues and poems.

Performers: Sibabalwe Mrwebi, Thandikile Mzaca, Bisma Menon, Unathi Plaatjie

Director: Nomvuyo Hlophe

Written By: Nomvuyo Hlophe and cast

Lighting Designer: Gifter Ngobeni


  • 24 July@18:00
  • 25 July@20:30
  • 26 July @20:00

Venue: Downstairs

Running Time: 60 min

Age Restriction: 16+

The Young Scientist (25, 26, 27 July)

What are the images of scientists that we form for children? Can we view children as scientists and complete humans? Do adult humans give a fair chance to children to perform to their fullest potential?

Performers: Thandiwe Sekhibane, Uthandolwethu Mrubata

Director: Thandiwe Sekhibane

Written By: Thandiwe Sekhibane

Lighting Designer: Thenjiwe Xoxokoshe

Costume and Set Design: Thandiwe Sekhibane, Nhlanhla Khumalo


  • 25 July@17:00
  • 26 July@16:00
  • 27 July@15:00

Venue: Downstairs

Running Time: 45 min

Age Restriction: All

Unfathomable (25, 26 July)

Unfathomable is an image based work that wades, drifts, floats through the waters of unprocessed grief. It seeks out the ghostly presences of those gone and those still alive, to understand their liveliness in death, their ghostliness in life. Tracing the histories of her father and grandmother in a poetic play between materials, body and words, Alex Halligey takes audiences on a swim through lives that couldn't be contained and those that stayed small for fear of the size of their spirit.

Performer: Alex Halligey

Director: Athena Mazarakis

Written By: Alex Halligey

Costume and Set Design: Jenni-Lee Crewe

Lighting Designer: Athena Mazarakis

Produced By: Wise & Great

Other credits: Created at the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative's Ebhudlweni Arts Centre


  • 25 July@18:30
  • 26 July@18:00

Venue: Main Theatre

Running Time: 50 min

Age Restriction: PG13

Gas Lands (28 July)

Gas Lands navigates the unknown spaces between the fine lines created by borders. Women testify to and defy these landscapes - wandering through the minds of the forgotten. Bailey Snyman's Gas Lines is a poetic meditation on the displacement of women due to war, trafficking and migration in the 21st century. Set in a dystopian future that oscillates between "its present and 'our' history. The dance work explores the challenges of crossing borders into the unknown being forced to run and hide from our identities and seeking refuge through the empathy of others. Gas Lands is a statement on resilience in the face of adversity. It is a sad, yet ultimately hopeful story -a requiem for all women and men who have carved a path from the past into the present and beyond the future.

The work has an original music composition by Daniel Geddes.

Performers: Bailey Snyman, Nicola Haskins, Tshepo Rapola, Mathew Winter, Jason Fredericks, Justice Makele, Oriana Somoza-Medina, Tebogo Mhlauli, Tatijana Ignjatov , Mahlodi Pesa, Walt Janse Van Rensburg, Zelne Papenfus and Hardy Keeve

Choreographer: Bailey Snyman

Original Score: Daniel Geddes

Costume Design: Michael Veldsman

Lighting & Set Designer: Willelm Disbergen


  • 28 July@15:00

Venue: Main Theatre

Running Time: 70 min

Age Restriction: PG 13

Abantu (28 July)

A mixture of Artists from within the Wits Community.


  • Godfrey Mntambo (B.Mus III) - Alto Sax
  • Sibonelwesihle Kodisang (Foundation) - Tenor Sax
  • Thembekile Duze (B.Mus II) - Voice
  • Kgaugelo Modise (B.Mus II) - Voice
  • Thamsanqa Mamkeli (Foundation) - Guitar
  • Nhlanhla Ngqaqu (Guest) - Bass
  • Enoch Marutha (B.Mus I) - Drums
  • Lehlohonolo Peega (B.Mus IV) - Percussions

Director: Lehlohonolo Peega

Dates: 28 July@18:30

Venue: Main Theatre

Running Time: 75 min

Age Restriction: All

Salutations from FINGO- Double Bill (24 July)

Through the FINGO Festival the Wits Stash collaboration has taken to the Makhanda streets a body of work which engages directly with the audiences by disrupting the conventional space of art, through amplifying the stereotypes of Black art in the academy. As an ode to bridging the gap between the academy and the community it addresses a discourse that is true to their identity, bringing to the foreground a culture of public art which involves creating work (theatre, music, fine art) and other non-conventional spaces of performance for public indulgence and transcendence.

Performers: Wits Stash Collective

Director: Collaborated by Wits Stash

Writer: Collaborated by Wits Stash

Date: 24 June@20:00

Venue: Amphitheatre

Duration: 120 minutes

Interval: 30 minutes

Age Restriction: All