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            #theatre activism – be ready …

The Drama Department and Ubom! have, with funding and support from CHERTL and the Student Affairs Division created a thrilling encounter using the unique and powerfully empathetic tools of theatre and performance to be performed as part of the Rhodes Orientation Week schedule. The work is original, rigorously researched and crafted into a provocative and highly engaging performance.

Three masters students, Thembela Madliki, Phemelo Hellemann, Nomcebisi Moyikwa, with the professional experience of Grahamstown theatre maker and teacher Mr Luvuyo Yanta make up the directing team under the guidance of Prof Andrew Buckland. Masters students Mike Da Silva (stage manager) and Sam Pennington (performer) lead a cast of committed highly talented and hard working young theatre makers.

Abantu Stand! Provides a experience which immerses the audience members in scenarios and images which invite them through humour and thrilling theatricality to consider their own situations; their own conditions of privilege, of prejudice, of fear, of anger, of empathy, of frustration and, more importantly, those of others. The show celebrates our shared human capacity for empathy and tolerance, without shying away from bringing light to our, often unacknowledged fears and prejudices.

The show is designed to surface and bring to light aspects of life at Rhodes which new students will encounter; some of them for the first time ever. The wide range of backgrounds, world views, moral frameworks, social and economic contexts of new students at Rhodes invites the powerful ability of theatre and performance to engage with the audience’s empathy and to direct light at our ability to view and see the humanity of others.

The show is created with the hope that it has the capacity to make clear to new students that they are not alone and that their best tools for negotiating this new universe of interactions and encounters comprise a willingness to listen, the courage to be heard and an understanding that the institutional culture is the culture determined and constructed by the students and staff together. Furthermore, as new students they have a powerful role to play in determining and embodying what that culture could be, and how it might be centred around our capacity for empathy, tolerance and acceptance of our shared humanity, no matter the differences between us.

Abantu Stand! Is designed by Illka Louw; costumes by Shannon Hardman and lighting design by Jim Erasmus.


Source:  Drama Department

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