Who are we?

The Hillbrow Theatre (formerly the Andre Huguenot Theatre) offers after-school performance arts programmes to children and youth who live in Hillbrow or attend schools in Hillbrow and the inner city of Johannesburg. Performance training gives children confidence and builds the skills of public speaking, voice and acting.

Play is the work of children, and through play, acting and singing, children work through issues that they have to face on a daily basis. Drama demands empathy for different personalities, cultures, religions and ways of living, and allows children to learn and practice the skills of self-discipline, communication, tolerance and mutual respect.

Life in the inner city can expose people to xenophobia, landlord exploitation, drug abuse and violence and the Hillbrow Theatre Project provides a safe space where children and youth can explore these issues through plays and storytelling. The drama workshops give children and youth the opportunity to develop their communication skills, self-confidence, teamwork skills and to unleash their imagination. Through the process of making these plays, children explore and dramatise creative solutions.

A high point on our annual calendar is the Inner City High Schools Drama Festival, which was initiated by the facilitators in 2005.

The Hillbrow Theatre Project facilitators run drama workshops at inner-city schools with groups of learners between the ages of 12 and 19 years. Also, there are two open drama classes which are conducted in the afternoons and on Saturday mornings at the theatre.

What we do:

Throughout the year, our facilitators conduct after-school performance arts programmes for school-going children and youth. These drama workshops are held at local inner-city high schools, and in the afternoons on Saturday mornings in the fun, creative haven of the Hillbrow Theatre.

The Hillbrow Theatre Project provides performing arts training coupled with a commitment, from both the team and participants, to build self-confidence, teamwork, communication and empathetic skills; and keep this corner of Hillbrow vibrant and active. The local and international teachers strive to provide quality theatre training that enriches lives and develops emotional resilience.

The youth (ages 12 – 19) who attend the theatre programme (weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings) learn traditional performing arts skills, including vocal, dance, physical and drama training, driven by the need for inner-city youths to find and plot positive life journeys. The training is designed to develop empathy: for yourself, your colleagues, other cultures, religions and ways of living.

  • We develop and present at least two original works (drama or dance) at four outside festivals or events;
  • We aim to develop and present an Easter play;
  • We stage a year-end production;
  • We run drama groups in 32 inner-city schools for approximately 480 youth;
  • We run a drama festival for 35 inner-city high schools;
  • We facilitate each high school group to present a new work at the Inner City High Schools Drama Festival;
  • We enable participants of the Hillbrow Theatre groups to attend at least eight arts events in Johannesburg; and
  • We enable facilitators to grow their artistic skills and reputations,
    attend workshops, cultural events, and collaborate with local and international artists/arts organisations.

Here are some of our events/performances:

  • Sounds Like You and Me
  • A manifesto for the youth of Hillbrow
  • My silence is talkative
  • March for awareness of the plight of Albinism in South Africa
  • Hillbrow youth perform in Berlin
  • Outreach Foundation is part of Joziwalks
  • Hillbrowfication
  • In my mother’s  womb

Read Our Story

Our Goals

We strive to:

Build self-confidence

Develop creativity

Promote teamwork

Increase communication and empathetic skills

Our Team:

Thabang Phakathi

-Project Coordinator

Gcebile Dlamini

-Facilitator

Sibusiso Hadebe

-Facilitator

Mirriam Gumada

-General Assistant

Linda Mkhwanazi

-Facilitator

Rudo Mudekunye

-General Assistant

Gerard Bester

-Programme Manager

On Our Blog:

Young Artist Award

Congratulations to Jefferson Tshabalala for the well deserved Standard Bank Young Artist Award. Thank you for all your beautiful sharings in our space!
https://youtu.be/oeMvDVQUp0k

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Hillbrow Going Global

If you happen to be in Berlin or Bologna in December be sure not to miss the Outreach Foundation Theatre performing our hit play “Hillbrowfication”.

Thank you to Goethe-Institutand and TURN Fonds of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes for their support in making this possible.

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In My Mother’s Womb

We are super excited to be presenting the acclaimed, In My Mother’s Womb, at the State Theatre in Pretoria on the 25th November 2019.

In My Mother’s Womb offers an intimate look into what it is like to live with blindness. Drawing from personal stories of the inter-generational cast of youngsters and the elderly, Dlamini challenges the audience to suspend the privilege of sight and use other senses to experience how the blind perceive the world. To awaken one’s spirituality, Dlamini says we all need to crawl back to our mother’s womb and acknowledge our complex existence. She experiments with the womb as the metaphor of darkness and asks the following questions: does one live with generational curses? Does the spirit world exist? Can hope keep one alive? Can tragedy turn into a blessing? Dlamini says “we learn the true meaning of dreams and hope through the blind. They can touch what we cannot. After every rehearsal of this work I ask myself, what kind of world could we inhabit if we all took the time to understand the world’s forgotten senses.” Through the exploration of blindness, this play is an example of the endless possibilities of how one can express oneself differently in the absence of sight.
The performing arts programme of the Outreach Foundation has, over the years, rooted its work thematically, addressing current and relevant social issues that impact our participants and their communities. The programme is committed to using the arts as a tool for positive social change engaging ethical and best practise methodologies.
For the last four years, we have collaborated with Tswelopele Frail Care Centre (Hillbrow), and last year invited Johannesburg Society for the Blind to create devised theatre works with our school-going participants. Themes of belonging and home, identity and music, cultural belief systems and generational curses have inspired the sharing of stories.
• For me it was extraordinary because working with grandmothers and grandfathers they give you knowledge that you have never seen before. You have never ever imagined from what they saw in apartheid and now that has… listening to their personal stories has been quite comforting.
Cast member – young@home 2017
The inter-generational project creates an alternative family. It is also a space to learn from other’s experiences and perceptions of the world we inhabit. It is about inter-generational knowledge sharing.
• I think our country has forgotten our elderly. I think this work did an incredible work in showing on how youth feel how elderly are and how energetic they are. I felt such an energy from the elderly and also such a sense of stillness and peace. I was really wonderful, thank you very much.

• Something that really touched me and I took the time is to look at every single one of the youth. And how in their eyes there is so much potential and I was just thinking that they are writing stories now that when they will be performing as elderly that they are gonna tell. And also thinking to myself that these beautiful mamas and tatas having so many beautiful stories this isn’t even their last story. They still have so many stories to experience. And this is one of them. And I was so moved by the youth

Audience comments from young@home 2017
Gcebile Dlamini, one of the theatre facilitators, has led this project since its inception. She is currently studying towards her Masters in Applied Theatre with a focus on inter-generational and creative ageing processes
Thank you to Rand Merchant Bank, Bread for the World, Ford Foundation for their generous support of our work.

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