Theatre transports children to magical place

‘Children believe in what you create on stage’

10 March 2016

Saarah Survé, Stellenbosch Department of Journalism

Weltevreden Wine Estate – “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.”

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.

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Dean Balie (Watson) and Sne Dladla (Florence) in Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse PHOTO: Saarah Survé

She explained that in a children’s theatre production, they coax children into engaging by asking 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 the 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.

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