WeeFestival Conference       


Workshop Call!

Creating Theatre for Very Young Audiences
led by Jennie Reznek and Koleka Putuma of Magnet Theatre (South Africa)
A workshop opportunity for theatre and dance artists
Supported by Harbourfront Centre
May 14 – 18, 2018

WeeFestival is thrilled to partner with Magnet Theatre, a South African theatre company who will be offering a 5-day workshop in two parts for artists interested in creating for very young audiences. The broad objective of the workshop is to introduce performers to Magnet Theatre and their approach to creating new work for very young audiences working from the contexts and specific linguistic and cultural perspectives of the creators.

Artistic Director Jennie Reznek says this about the Magnet Theatre approach: “We work with people who consider themselves to be indigenous to South Africa, engage with textures,stories, songs, history and references in the creative process that reflect who they are and where they come from. In fact it is a central aspect of our working process that it is very inclusive and engages the individual participants.”

The workshop will focus on Magnet’s particular movement and musical strategies of play with the body, sound, song and the introduction of very simple objects to develop performance. Participants will have the opportunity to observe two productions from Magnet Theatre:

KNOCK! is new indigenous South African theatre especially created for little ones. 4 performers enter the space and explore the natural material of wood, its sounds, what it can do and what it can make. Stimulating for the imagination, the cast create strange and magical animals and images with wonderfully shaped pieces of forest wood. With songs, especially created for the production, they include the children in singing and creating sounds with their own bodies. Knock! Is for children 2 -5 years.

SCOOP is the first ever South African baby play for mothers and babies between the ages of 2 weeks to 12 months. This play is performed in a self-contained tent, a relaxing space, and fits 6 moms and babies at a time. With the use of sounds, songs, lights and textures, babies are taken on an enchanting journey crafted to delight, surprise and soothe. Through intensive interaction with the babies, the four performers reveal innovative ways to connect and communicate with infants.

Part 1 Creation of work for 3 – 5 year olds, May 14 & 15
This part of the workshop shifts the paradigm from creating work for adults to the kind of opportunities that making performance for very young audiences offer theatre -makers. Foregrounding the language of the body and working with matter, the workshop explores the notion of the performance as a site for an encounter between the performers and very young human beings.

Part 2 Creation of work for 6 weeks to 12 month –old babies, May 16 & 17
This workshop offers ways into creating work for 6 week -12 month babies and their caregivers. Participants will explore how the use of the body, sounds, lights and different textures can generate material for performance and also give the performers tools and strategies to facilitate their interaction and connection with the babies and caregivers. The workshop will focus on play and improvising different entry points into the work rather than arriving at a finished product, so participants should come ready to play.

Part 3 Creating and Sharing, May 18
Participants have the opportunity to share short pieces created during the workshop with the group and potentially WeeFestival Conference delegates.

Program Details
The participants will create short pieces that could be the beginnings of new works created for very young audiences. Participants have the option to register for Part 1, Part 2, or both. All participants are required to attend the final day on Friday, May 18.

Access Statement: We encourage applicants of all abilities and cultures. Please indicate whether, you may require any additional accessibility support or costs.

Cost: Free of Charge |Meals Provided |Location: Pia Bouman Studios

How to Apply:
Please send a brief email introduction detailing your interest in participating along with your bio or CV. Indicate whether you wish to participate in Part 1, Part 2, or both sessions. Please send to: Sehar Bhojani, Associate Artistic Director | community@weefestival.ca by Monday April 16th, 2018.


Magnet Theatre is a high profile physical theatre company that has been operating in and out of South Africa for the past 30 years. As a company, they are on the cutting edge. Foregrounding the language of the body, they create exciting, innovative and sophisticated African theatre which engages with the present condition in South Africa. Their work is highly regarded by the press, audiences and award structures in South Africa. They have created over 36 original South African works, many of them award winning which have toured broadly in South Africa and internationally, notably Every Year, Everyday I am Walking which has had 24 international tours.

Magnet Theatre’s productions for Early Years audiences include: TREE/BOOM/UMTHI (winner Dassie Award for Children Theatre in 2016, which performed in Italy, Germany, the UK and in New York), Ekhaya (Assitej Rocking the Cradle Festival, UK, La Baracca, Bologna). KNOCK!, AHA! (Hellwach Festival, Germany) and Paired. Their latest performance created especially for babies is Scoop which will be performed alongside KNOCK! as part of the 2018 WeeFestival.


Jennie Reznek (Artistic Director Magnet Theatre, creator of KNOCK! And co- creator on Scoop) BA, Perf. Dip. (Speech & Drama) (UCT), Diploma Ecole Jacques Lecoq (Paris), MA (UCT). Actress, director and teacher, Jennie is a founder member of Magnet Theatre and runs the bulk of the workshop and performance program of the company. She is an award winning actress and has created 27 new pieces of physical theatre Introduction to Theatre for Early Years Magnet Theatre’s approach that foreground the language of the body and which respond to the South African archive, most notably the multi-award winning The Show’s Not Over Til The Fat Lady Sings and Every Year Everyday I am Walking which has garnered praise and awards both nationally and internationally and has been performed in 17 countries all over the world. She has pioneered the creation of early years work in South Africa and has been responsible for the creation of 6 new works for children under the age of 7, notable TREE/BOOM/UMTHI and Scoop – the first ever SA work for babies under the age of 12-months.

Koleka Putuma (director Scoop)
BA, Theatre & Performance (University of Cape Town) Award winning poet and theatre practitioner Koleka Putuma has taken the South African literary scene by storm with her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia. Since its publication in April 2017, the book is in its 6th print run and has been prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities. Collective Amnesia was named 2017 book of the year by the City Press and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa.

She was recently recognised as a Rising Star at the 2017 South African Mbokodo Awards. She is the recipient of the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize. She has been named one of the young pioneers who took South Africa by storm in 2015 by The Sunday Times, one of 12 future shapers by Marie Claire SA, the groundbreaking new voice of South African poetry by OkayAfrica, and one of the 100 young people disrupting the status-qou in South Africa by independent media. She directed Mbuzeni which is performing internationally at Schone Aussicht at JES in Stuttgart and has been invited to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival later this year.