South African Cultural Observatory

Beneath African Skies

04 SEP 2017 - 08 OCT 2017
Category: Art
Region: Gauteng
Town: Braamforntein
Cover Charge: R 130.00
Contact Details: Telephone (011) 403-1563 / 2340.
Booking Details:

The Peoples Theatre presents Beneath African Skies! a fantastic homegrown production taking place from 4 September to 8 October 2017.

Great African stories are brought to the Peoples Theatre stage this September and October with the fantastic homegrown production, Beneath African Skies. The aim of this production is to introduce the magic and joy of live theatre to young audiences. The emphasis is on the value of books and reading. Familiar stories are acted out in a creative format told with Peoples Theatre’s trademark wit and great musical numbers. Audience participation is greatly encouraged, gently reminding learners that reading and books are filled with magic and fun!


Come and meet beings who claim to be able to change themselves into wild animals, animals inhabited by great wisdom, mystics and more as they journey through the sun-drenched landscape under blue African skies.

“Children will be excited by their involvement in stories from the African continent” says co-director of Beneath African Skies, Jill Girard.

“Through the interaction, the child becomes involved in the stories themselves. The stories involve animals who take on human personas with characters like the rabbit who weave their way through the production.”

Beneath African Skies features much-loved stories such as How Fairy Tales Reached the Earth; Ntombinde Who Loved Adventure; The Lion and the Jackal, and Sister Python and Brother Rabbit.

Girard and co-director Keith Smith have carefully crafted this production to entertain and educate young minds by giving them a greater understanding of the wonderful stories and the rich heritage that exists in South Africa. Beautiful hand-crafted masks and puppets allow the actors to transform into the many different animals that inhabit the land.

The sterling cast members take on various roles in the production. Peoples Theatre fans will recognise Noni Mkhonto from Alice in Wonderland, where she played Alice, More Adventures of Noddy, African Tales, Beauty and the Beast and The Gingerbread Man. In 2012 and 2013, she performed in Janice Honeyman’s pantomimes Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin. She also appeared in Sister Act, as Sebastian in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Iago in Disney’s Aladdin and Tinkerbell in Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. She was most recently seen in the pantomime Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood and the popular Afrikaans pantomime, Doringrosie.

Wits Drama graduate Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri has notched up several stellar theatre performances in his career thus far including Swingin' Christmas at Gold Reef City's Lyric Theatre; the Mandela 2 understudy for Mandela Trilogy with The Cape Town Opera which toured to Germany, Italy, Ireland and the UK; Donkey in the Peoples Theatre production of Shrek Jr, and ensemble in Janice Honeyman's pantomime adventure, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood at the Joburg Theatre. His most recent stage appearance was as King Magnum in KickstArt's production of Puss in Boots at Gold Reef City's Lyric Theatre. 

After many children’s roles throughout her school years, Jaydene Marais acted in her first professional production in 2013 as the evil stepsister Drizella in the Peoples Theatre’s Disney’s Cinderella Kids. Her theatre credits include Disney’s Pinocchio Jr as Jiminy Cricket, Storybook Theatre in 2014 and 2015, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr, Disney’s The Jungle Book Jr & Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr. She was most recently seen as Rabbit in Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Kids and Lucifer the Cat in Disney’s Cinderella Kids.

Tshwane University of Technology graduate Thokozani Jiyane recently featured in Mr Popper’s Penguins as Admiral Drake, Delivery Man and Doc Hopper at the National Children’s Theatre. He also featured in Cultural Extravaganza directed by Tony Kgoroge and Amandla Cultural Ensemble by Dr Jonas Gwagwa. He has also voiced the characters Spike and Deedee on a popular DStv children’s show. He was most recently seen as Owl and Tigger in Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Kids and Prince Charming in Disney’s Cinderella Kids.

A soundtrack of extraordinary effects underscores all the action and interaction of this moving piece of children’s theatre. Well-known African songs live side by side with their contemporary counterparts ensuring that this becomes a whole musical experience children will love.

Local truly is lekker at the Peoples Theatre. Bookings are now open for Beneath African Skies which runs from 4 September to 8 October 2017. Call 011 403 1563/2340 or email for bookings or enquiries.




Bridget van Oerle / Sneziwe Dube

011 673 0264 / 011 477 0923


Venue Name: Peoples Theatre
Street Address: Corner Loveday and Hoofd Streets, Joburg Theatre Complex, Braamfontein

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