Mental Health Awareness Takes Centre Stage At The Market Theatre

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Mental Health is not a stigma. This is a message that is driven forcefully by the Market Theatre Foundation's season of four productions that shine the spotlight on mental health.

In ECLIPSED, acclaimed theatre director Sylvaine Strike directs students from the Market Theatre Laboratory in a powerful dramatic portrayal that draws on testimonies from hearings following the Life Esidemeni tragedy in which 144 mental health patients lost their lives through medical negligence. The production is currently playing at the Ramolao Makhene Theatre till Sunday 22 September 2019.

In a unique international production of the classical play Medea, the production will feature on stage people with disabilities from Italian theatre company Teatro Patologico from Rome, accompanied by professional actors. This exceptional production focuses on the deep connection between use of the body, language and music wherein the body becomes the principle means of communication. Language and use of original music revolve around the corporeal and spiritual link with the performer's bodies. Medea can be seen at the Mannie Manim at The Market Theatre on Friday 27 September and Saturday 28 September at 20:15

In addition to the staging of Medea, the group of Teatro Patologico will hold a workshop at Little Eden, an association dedicated to physically and mentally disabled people. The Italian actors will work together with a selected group of guests from the South African facility to jointly realize an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus which will be performed at the Mannie Manim Sunday 29 September at 15:15.

To add to the above, Man Alone is a new work that explores mental health in the black community. Man Alone is written and directed by Roelf Matlala. The production centres on Sam Leatha, a man in his early sixties who lives alone with his three pot plants talking to them like humans because to him they are exactly that, humans. Despite all this abnormal and strange behaviour, Sam is a very astute person who can cleverly manoeuvre himself out of any argument and come out sounding smarter. Man Alone can be seen at the Market Theatre from Friday 4 - Sunday 13 October 2019

Roelf Matlala is an award winning theatre-maker. He appeared in shows such as Hell We Can, Black Age and God Will Come by Selaelo Maredi, Mr. Flatnose, Third Coming, Location 1973 and BIKO by Martin Koboekae, Let My People Go by Jerry Pooe and AMAJUBA by Yael Farber. Television credits include GENERATIONS, SKHWIZAS, GA RE DUMELE, ISIDINGO and SKEEM SAAM.

His achievements and accolades include two best actor awards at the Stop Crime Drama Festival in North West and Mpumalanga Provinces, best production award with God Will Come at the Windybrow Arts festival, Best production nomination at the Drama Desk Awards, New York, USA with Amajuba. Matlala is a regular actor in SAFM radio dramas and he is also voice over artist. His play, BIRTHDAY won best script and best production award at the Heritage Arts Festival, University of Limpopo, 2003 which was written and directed by him. Man Alone is his second major production that he wrote and has directed.

An estimated 400 million people worldwide suffer from mental or neurological disorders or from psychosocial problems. October has been declared Mental Health Awareness month. The objective is to educate the public about mental health and also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to. The Market Theatre Foundation is taking the lead amongst South African theatres to present a season of strong productions by leading creatives broaden the awareness about mental health and people living with the illness.

To make block bookings for any of these productions, please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641ext 203/ 083 246 4950, Magret Charova 011 832 1641 ext 326/ 079 656 2340 and Jabulisile Mofolo 011 832 1641 ext 204/ 083 203 0531

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