Barney Simon Residency Project at the Market Theatre Laboratory

With the support of the Barney Simon Trust, the Market Theatre Laboratory offers one residency a year to provide a space for theatre-makers to develop a new work, investigate artistic process, and take creative risks.

The artist will receive a grant of R90 000 to subsidise their project costs, including their creative team, cast, archiving and materials. In addition, the residency project will be given 8 weeks of studio space, access to the Ramolao Makhene Theatre for one week to present the outcomes of the residency (with a technician), access to the internet and some IT resources, and printing.

The resident artist will be asked to engage with the students at The Market Lab through masterclasses, seminars and ‘sharings’ of the creative process. This residency is open to practitioners of any level of experience, but you must be a practising theatre-maker.

To apply, please submit the following:

  • Brief history of you or your company
  • A concept note (What is your idea?)
  • Motivation (Why does your idea/process require the support of The Market Theatre Laboratory?)
  • How does this idea sit within your overall body of work?
  • Links to support material (videos, sound files, photos, etc.)
  • A budget (Cost breakdown of how you intend to use the grant)

NB: Please keep your application to a maximum of 3 pages.

A panel will be appointed for the selection process. The residency will take place at the Market Theatre Laboratory from January – February 2023.

Applications are due 31 October 2023, and should be submitted to




This story follows four young girls aged 12 to 16 years and it explores their curiosity with life in the living and life after death. They explore this in their childlike manner, through the games they play together and the stories they have been told by elders. They create a whole new world of their own where there is a strong division between Lana (the land of the living) and Ngaphesheya (the land of the dead where the cemetery lies). They are met with a new friend who emerges from the other world of Ngaphesheya, whom they accept into their everyday living of playfulness and welcoming this new member into their circle changes their lives.

In Ngaphesheya, the 6th edition of the Kwasha! Theatre Company showcases an amazing piece that draws light to the themes of death, purgatory and paranormality. They do this by telling the story in narration, song and physical chorus work. Although, the story is told in a light manner, events get darker as all the characters find themselves experiencing a whole new forbidden land that is introduced by the character of Pinkie. We witness the other three girls, Nobahle (16), Sphiwo (12) and Owethu (14) being influenced by Pinkie to explore the land of Ngaphesheya, a land that has always remained unknown to them. With young Sphiwo longing to again see her late mother and twin sister who passed during childbirth, an interest to visit the other world is evoked. Will this journey feed their curiosity or further swallow them into a world of darkness?





Growing up in a village in the Eastern Cape, many stories and superstitions surrounding death and the afterlife were passed down generations. “Never point at a grave” – or you’ll be inviting death unto your family, “Never whistle indoors” – uyahlola (you are attracting the tragedy of death), “Hold your breath when passing through or driving past a cemetery” – you might inhale an evil force or a recently departed spirit looking to take up residency in your body, to name a few.

This planted curiosity in me about what truly happens when people crossover, is there a life after death?

I have since learned that not everyone who crosses over gets the everlasting peace that is promised upon death. In Ngaphesheya, we explore and imagine what happens in the other world as we paint our own picture of what life after death may look like.

Directing a theatre production has always been a dream for me and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so beside an incredibly talented group of female performers. Taking up this role is something very special to me, it plays a part in me trusting myself and growing as a creative. It definitely is something that will forever be engraved in my journey as a young artist.

A very huge and special thank you goes out to our mentor in this process, Aus’ Momo Matsunyane, ndibamba ngazo zozibini. Thank you for seeing our story, believing in it and guiding us to tell it in the greatest way. You’re phenomenal.

I hope everyone enjoys our story as much as we did making it.




Kgomotso ‘MoMo’ Matsunyane (b. 1988) is an actor, playwright and director. She has performed in numerous plays, films and television shows and has subsequently been nominated for and won several awards including: Hlakanyana The Musical, which won a whopping 8 out of the 14 awards they were nominated for at the 2023 Naledi’s. Matsunyane won for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role as Mawethu along with Best Ensemble and Best Production of a Musical; Best Actress in A Leading Role (Have You Seen

Zandile? ;Naledi Theatre Awards 2014), Best Supporting Actress (Ankobia ;SA Theatre Magazine Awards 2017), Best Ensemble (Animal Farm; Naledi Theatre Awards 2015), Best Supporting Role (Tsotsi The Musical; Fleur Du Cap Awards 2018) amongst many others.

She has also recently acted in a new sketch comedy show called ROSA directed by Kagiso Lediga scheduled to play on popular streaming network, Netflix in 2023. In the same year Matsunyane was festival director for the acclaimed Zwakala Festival and will be mentoring the winning group as the show takes to the stage in October 2023.

MoMo has been a professional actor since 2004. She obtained an Honours Degree in Dramatic Arts from Wits University in 2012, majoring in Performance as well as Film and Television. In 2022 she performed in If A Tree Falls which was also directed by acclaimed director

Janice Honeyman. In 2020, she performed in Switzerland in Converting Eviction. In 2021, MoMo was the Head Writer of a new musical produced by Madevu Entertainment and UJ

Arts Centre called Hlakanyana directed by Janice Honeyman. She was also cast in Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Dance, Lulu Mlangeni’s NAF production Kganya which made its live debut at the internationally acclaimed festival Afrovibes in 2022 and it will also be playing at The State Theatre in July 2023.




Zamantimande Shongwe, a venue technician. I graduated with a BA in Drama & Theatre Studies (Technical) at the University of Stellenbosch. I specialise in stage management and lighting but am skilled in costume making, production management, continuity, video production, décor, props, sound and stage make up. I am from the East Rand, Johannesburg and am currently working at the Market theatre Laboratory.

I am the stage manager for Ngaphesheya by Kwasha the 6th.



Nontuthuko Azande Mkhungo is originally from KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. She obtained a degree in Bachelor of live Performance (stage & screen acting) at AFDA Johannesburg in 2017. She has the utmost respect & passion for the arts – in its entire form that is whether it’s on stage, screen or behind the scenes.

She is an extremely hardworking and talented theatre practitioner & screen actor. She is a musician, presenter and dancer. She is also very skilled when it comes to behind the scenes work which includes editing, logging & cinematography.

She lives by a mantra that she has created for herself which is: “I have no plan B because art is all I know”.



Ndonie Ntshiza was born and bred in Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal. She is a 23 year old qualified theater and screen actress. During her years of studying she took part in presenting classes.

Later on, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Live Performance at the School for the Creative Economy, AFDA. Shortly after, she was selected to join Duma Ndlovu’s Actor’s Academy, a space that presented her with theater and television acting roles. Currently, she is part of the 6th edition of the Kwasha! Theatre Company.

Ndonie shows great interest in voice acting, improvisation and writing in her home language, isiZulu. She continues to work on her standard American and British accents.

Her latest project is the theater production, NGAPHESHEYA. A play that’s allowed her to exercise her additional skills: producing, character styling and writing – a hobby she intends to develop in the near future.



Ngwedi is a Theatre and Performance graduate from The Market Theatre Laboratory with a gentle spirit. She was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and is 22 years of age. She is currently under a theatre company called Kwasha The 6th. She is an observer and storyteller. She is a vessel for expression and often finds her voice rooted in the intricacies of the human experience. As a writer at heart, a large part of her work exists with a sense of poetry. She is also a mover, whose skills lie in physical theatre. Ngwedi is a body that is constantly in a state of becoming and she uses this to challenge the constructs of theatre.



Sinegugu Shantel Mdluli, is a 21 year old theatre performer and vocalist originally from Mpumalanga.

She recently graduated from Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Performing arts specialising in Musical Theatre. Her musical theatre practice explored tap dance, ballet, theatre dance as well as vocal training and acting. Her experience of theatre performance is mainly tertiary based with productions from Breytenbach theatre as well as The South African State Theatre such as Before and After! musical, Eviction Dance production, Sheila’s day, Mbombozone the musical amongst many others.

She is currently under the 6th Kwasha! Theatre Company at The Market Theatre Foundation in collaboration with Windybrow Arts centre.

She aspires to work on more platforms that will enhance her artistic self.



The Market Theatre Laboratory presents the second Theatre Think Tank instalment, curated by cultural policy specialist, Boitumelo ‘Tumy’ Motsoatsoe. After the success of the first instalment at this year’s National Arts Festival, The Market Lab now hosts a free conversation focussing on succession planning in the arts and culture sector.

The Theatre Think Tank instalments, funded by the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), serve as an exploration and reflection on the wealth of knowledge enacted, embodied and performed by practitioners in the arts and culture field, specifically with the intention of gathering and organising this knowledge in a way that draws on the knowledge of local communities, and made accessible to the greater community. 

Speaking on the upcoming Theatre Think Tank, Cherae Halley, the head of The Market Theatre Lab has this to say: 

“This second Theatre Think Tank for 2023, titled Connected Circles: Fosta-ring an inclusive, intergenerational and interdependent community of creative leaders and intermediaries, is an exciting opportunity for us to speak back to the succession of leadership in our sector. As someone who has stepped into a leadership role, I am certain that the conversation is one of great value and will contribute significantly to research through an intergenerational approach”.

“Bula(ng) Sekele!” which loosely means: “make the circle bigger” is a phrase used in children’s games and later popularised through a pop song produced by Thabo Bogopa Junior (JR). It is also the point of departure for the Connected Circles Theatre Think Tank, challenging leaders and intermediaries in the creative sector to consider the role that a more interconnected and inclusive community might play in the process of rebuilding and repositioning the sector post COVID-19.

Borrowing from the principles of Sankofa, Ubuntu and Emergent Strategy by writer and activist, adrienne maree brown, the Theatre Think Tank aims to deliberately convene different generations or exclusive circles of creative leaders and intermediaries, from various schools of thought, into one space, where they can reflect and share ideas/ideals on how to meaningfully create linkages or pathways between these circles. 

Through this Think Tank experience, Tumy invites our greater community to share their thoughts on the role that interdependent and inclusive leadership can play in building broader capacity, fostering accountability, enabling succession planning and in facilitating a meaningful flow of power and resources across the network. While initiating a lekgotla that expands on the notion of a fishbowl, Tumy will probe the following questions to be discussed:

“What are the core “eco-systemic” challenges that have created these barriers of collaboration and how can we work together to break them down? Equally so, what does a thriving sector look like and how can we make it accessible to diverse individuals?” 

If you are engaged in the arts, or are just curious, don’t miss The Connected Circles Theatre Think Tank which takes place on Sunday the 17th of September at The Market Theatre Laboratory in Newtown at 14h00.

For information on reservations and further enquiries please contact The Market Theatre Laboratory on 011  838 7498 or contact Thandeka Nheke on 



This full-time, one-year course offers intensive training in a laboratory environment for emerging actors, theatre-makers, directors and writers to develop to a professional standard. Facilitated by professional theatre practitioners, the programme focuses on practical experience, and learning through experimentation, exchange, research and making. The programme runs from February – November each year. Note that full-time attendance for the whole programme is compulsory. Should a candidate successfully complete the one-year course, they may be invited to participate in a further 9 month advanced programme.

Applications open on the 1st of August 2023 for study in 2024.

CLOSING DATE for submission of applications: 30th of September 2023.

*No late applications will be considered.

Please note that if lockdown regulations due to the Covid19 pandemic are still in place, parts of the course may be held online. In this eventuality, students will need to provide their own data, or submit a special application for data support.

Application Process:

  • Please submit the following documents:
  • A complete application form
  • 1 full length photograph Certified copy of Matric Certificate / Most recent report if applicant is currently in matric
  • 1 Certified copy of ID.
  • A one page example of creative writing (no less than 250 words)
  • A motivational letter: tell us why you want to study at the Lab, and why you should be selected for the programme. Please mention if you have particular skills and interests other than acting that you think add value, such as producing, writing, singing, etc.
  • An audition video, a maximum of one minute long. In the video, please start by saying your full name (so we can connect it to the right application form), the title of the monologue, the character/s you will be playing, and the author of the monologue (including if you wrote it yourself). Then perform a monologue – it can be an extract from a play, or something you have written or created yourself, as long as you are playing a character who is experiencing or telling us about a particular situation. You can film it yourself, or ask someone to film it for you. The monologue can be in any style, from realism to physical theatre, just keep in mind that you should place the camera in a way that allows us to see the performance best. This video should be Whatsapped to +27 76 283 4459 with your full name as a caption
  • For enquiries, please call (+27) 11 838 7498 or email
  • Selection Process:Short-listed candidates will be contacted telephonically by 14 October 2023 to confirm an audition/interview date. An audition brief will be provided.
  • Please submit the following documents: Please tick the box with to make sure all the necessary documents are uploaded along with your completed online application:

Applications open for the 2023 Photography Incubator Programme

Applications open for the 2023 Photography Incubator Programme at the Market Photo Workshop

Applications close on Friday 21 July 2023.

Market Photo Workshop, with support from the Department of Arts and Culture, is sending out a call for photography enterprises and entrepreneurship proposals. The 8-months Photography Incubator Programme will use hands-on job experience, combined with technical and theoretical support and incubation, with the aim of enhancing and elevating photographers’ business ventures and artistic practice. The Programme provides practical experience and exposure to fully understand major aspects of the enterprise of photography. This includes photography entrepreneurship and business management, gallery practice, curatorial production, editing, training and participatory projects and will explore photography through artistic, commercial, and media practice.

The incubate photographers will each be assigned a mentor to work with in the production of their projects which will be critiqued by professionals. 10 fully developed projects engaging with the public and communities through photography.  The outcomes may take various forms, from interventions such as site-specific participatory photo projects, talks, workshops, open studios, photo walks, publications, screenings and online projects.


The Programme is aimed at photographers practicing in South Africa with at least 2 years of practical experience, who are seeking to further their conceptual and artistic practice by developing business and entrepreneurial skills. Preferential advantage will be given to photographers from underrepresented communities in need of business developmental support.

Applicants should note the Application Procedure and Selection Criteria stipulated below.

  1. Submit a comprehensive CV and professional biography.
  2. Submit a motivation for applying and why you should be considered for the project. The motivation should detail your interests in developing a photography business.
  3. Submit a proposal of an innovative photography business concept that you would like to develop further with support from the programme. The proposal should list project goals/objectives.
  1. Submit an unfished or work-in-progress photography series with at least 10 – 20 digital low-resolution JPG images. Maximum of 20 low-resolution files in total (max. 10MB).
  2. A panel of judges appointed by the Market Photo Workshop will participate in the selection process.
  3. Shortlisted candidates must be available for an interview after notification.
  4. Judges need to be satisfied that the successful incubate photographers will be able to self-manage during the Programme, and that they are likely to derive lasting benefits from the Programme.


Applications close on Friday 21 July 2023.

All applications must be submitted by email to and copied to

Can Black Man Talk About Love

Can Black Man Talk About Love

Johannesburg, Gauteng, April 27th 2023

Maakomele R Manaka affectionately known as ‘MAK’, a renowned South African Poet, is launching his own publishing house and his online store, after finally reclaimed all his previously published works. Manaka Publications will officially be launched in Johannesburg on the 27h April 2023.


The day will also double up as a media launch and launch pad for his current project under Manaka Publications, called, Translating the Protea. Manaka’s third literary delivery titled Flowers of a Broken Smile published 2016 has been translated into three different South African languages, Sepedi, Afrikaans and Xhosa. Translating the Protea will tour to the three Provinces, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and North West, visiting high schools and Universities respectively.

Nape Motana, Sepedi translator is a member of Medupe Writers’ Association, PEN, African Writers’ Association and Congress of South African Writers, and a poet published in inter alia, Staffrider, New Classic and The Return of the Amasi Bird.

Ayanda Billie the Xhosa translator is a writer/poet – born in the township of KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage Kariega, where he still lives and is the co-founder of Mandela Bay Book Fair.

Pieter Odendaal the Afrikaans translator is a South African poet, playwright, translator and editor. He was the director of InZync Poetry from 2015-2019, a poetry organization based in the English Studies Department at Stellenbosch University and he currently teaches Creative Writing at North-West University in Potchefstroom.

“Flowers of a Broken Smile, Maakomele Manaka’s third literary offering, is an extended riff of feminine aspects of love and life” said Lebo Mashile in the forward of the book. “Translating the Protea is a project that allows accessibility of the literature in our home languages, allowing us to converse better.” Said Maakomele Manaka.

About the Publisher:

Maakomele R. Manaka is a Soweto born poet with a strong artistic heritage. South African icon Don Mattera said “If genius can be genetically connected and if it flows from generation to generation, then Mak Manaka is the epitome of it. He comes from a dynasty of talented, creative and gifted people Nomsa and Matsemela”.

He has published four collections of poetry If Only (self-published, 2003. Edited by Don Mattera), In Time (Geko,2009. Edited by Andrew Miller) Flowers of A Broken Smile (InkSword 2016) and Oncoming Traffic (Botsotso 2018. Ed. by Allan Horwitz).


For more information contact: Mpume Imani Kotane

071 577 9436

Part-time Screenwriting

Part-time Screenwriting

06 May 2023


This year, the Market Theatre Laboratory and TsaMmu offers an introduction to a Screenwriting Course. This course sets out to help aspiring writers better understand key concepts necessary to developing story for Screen. Along with learning core screenwriting skills, participants will also get the opportunity to write their own short film. This will be done with help from our industry-expert course facilitator, Omphile Molusi.

This course begins in 6 May 2023 – 10 June 2023 and runs for 6 weeks. Participants will meet once a week for 3 hours. NB: Participants are required to have their own laptop.

Feel like joining Part-time Screenwriting: Cycle 2? Registration is done through Webtickets

Introduction to Screen Acting

Introduction to Screen Acting: Cycle 2

12 Aug 2023 – 4 Nov2023


This part-time introductory course focuses on acting techniques specifically for television and film. Over 12 3-hour sessions on Saturday afternoons, students will learn skills of script analysis, characterisation, and acting craft by working practically with an experienced facilitator. Through the process of exploring various texts, and recording and analysing on-screen performances, students will develop their understanding of acting techniques, develop their own acting process, and receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. 12 August 2023 – 4 November 2023

#NB Once you have purchased and register for classes kindly note they will be no refund.

Actor Wena Part-Time Acting Classes

Actor Wena Part-Time Acting Classes Cycle 3

12 Aug 2023 – 4 Nov 023


This course is an introduction to acting for people who have no previous experience, or for people who want to practise and hone their existing skills. Students meet over 12 classes on a Saturday morning from 9:00 to 12:00, from 12 August 2023 – 4 November 2023 Students explore acting concepts of character, relationship, objective and environment, through the selection and rehearsal of a monologue, which they perform for a public audience at the end of the cycle.

Please note once you purchase this ticket they will be no refund



“Nothing lasts long enough to have been. These fragments of everything descend upon us haphazardly. Only rarely do we see the immanence of wholes. And that is the beginning of art”.(Dambudzo Marechera, House of Hunger)

ISILILO is a mix of comedy, absurdism, physical theatre and dramatic prose. It is an extraordinary example of contemporary  South African theatre and the dynamism with which our local practitioners treat their narrative and performative responsibilities. It is also a deeply South African story in form and content.

The Life Esidimeni tragedy rocked our consciousness as a nation.

The rainbow nation had again faltered and instituted unbelievable suffering and pain on the lives of its citizens. Siyambonga Mdubeki  has been able to recount the collective traumas of all the families who lost their lives in the height of this investigation. Through delicate story-telling, beautiful prose and truly dynamic scenes and prop-work, the cast of ISILILO has gifted the victims of the tragedy their humanity.

1) A word from the playwright:

It is 2016 when I came across a news headline saying “At least 144 mentally ill patients died during Life Esidimeni”.

Now this is obviously how the Journalists write headlines to attract readers and make people curious to read what comes after the headline, but for me, I knew there and then that there is really no way that, this can sound right to someone reading, not the headline itself but the actual thing carried by the headline, “At least 144 mentally ill patients died during Life Esidimeni”.

Even though I had had an interest in what was happening with the Life Esidimeni incident, that headline incited something in me and that is when I started reading more about it.

At this point I was not even sure yet that I wanted to do a play about it but I was just a concerned citizen. Upon reading articles about Life Esidimeni, I  learnt that the victims were being compensated R1.2 million for the loss of their loved ones. This, I thought, was not the justice the families were looking for ;but I was looking at it from the outside, without the knowledge of how they felt at the time.

I continued to wonder “How does one put a price on someone’s life?” “Does money take away the pain?”.

Of course there was no way I would have had answers to these questions from the outside.

I decided to approach a journalist by the name of Suzanne Venter, who worked for Rapport. Suzanne was the one who helped me with the articles she wrote and any information she had about the Life Esidimeni incident as well as the arbitration process.

After going through those gruesome stories she shared, I wondered how the victims were and what their thoughts were, especially that even after all that has been said. No one had been held accountable for what happened, let alone being imprisoned.  Suzanne then directed me to Mrs Christene Nxumalo who was the leader of the family committee and who had also lost her sister during the Life Esidimeni transfers.

Mrs Nxumalo is the one who then made it possible for me to meet with other direct family members who lost their loved ones during the Life Esidimeni incident. From then on I would meet up with those families and have a conversation with them, trying to understand and get their side of the story as well as what it is they wish could have been done to avoid the incident that happened. I recorded everything I heard and listened to it again when I was home by myself to make sense of everything.

The families recounted  how their loved ones were ill treated in the different NGOs that they were moved to. They spoke about  the conditions in which they lived under with some instances of patients being given the wrong medication.

At this point I knew that I needed to do something.

@TheMarketTheatre ·

As a qualified writer, actor and director, I thought that telling this  a story was a no brainer.

2) About ISILILO

ISILILO is a look into the state of health institutions in South Africa through the life of a young boy whose dreams are deferred because of his father’s deteriorating health. As the story unfolds, we encounter young Gcina Mabitsela, the protagonist, having to choose between his career as a soccer star, the love of his life and caring for his father.

The Market Theater Laboratory is honoured to present ISILILO again to Gauteng audiences as part of the human rights program on the 17,18,19,20,21 March 2023.

This play first debuted at the Market Theatre in 2020, but was only open to the Media as well as the Life Esidimeni family Committee.

In 2021 it had its run at The Forge in Braamfontein.

Written by:

Siyambonga Mdubeki

Developed by the Cast:

Zanele Mthombeni

Tsegofatso Masekwameng

Siyambonga Mdubeki Directed By:

Ncumisa Ndimeni

Baleni Ernest

3) Comments and Testimonials

“I am watching this play for the second time now. This will be a mouthpiece for Life Esidimeni families, as our government looks down on us. They think that since they have compensated us, everything is alright. We still need justice for our own lost families. I think this play will give us justice”. Mrs Jabulile Hlatshwayo

“I lost my younger sister who had a disability, she was epileptic and she was lost into the system, I would like to put it, because she was sent to hospital and she never came back. There was never an explanation from the hospital as to what happened, but her body was bruised, with blood veins all over her, but no one explained what was going on. So the family just concluded that clearly she was given wrong medication because, how does someone go to hospital and just die without any explanation?.” Zanele Mthombeni

” What a beautiful story, beyond the Activism, beyond the story. What an honor and a privilege to be part of that room and to witness all that. You know when you think of people from Life Esidimeni, you think of them from a state of, when they are already born, that they suffered from a mental health issue, but to go through the timeline of this man, for me it just hits home. It is so relatable, I could empathize. I left saying ‘what if this was my father?, what if? ” Chris Djuma.