Magnet Theatre is an independent physical theatre company founded in 1987 in order to produce Jennie Reznek’s first one-man performance “Cheap Flights”.  Then in 1991, it re-emerged to produce “The Show’s Not Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings” which was performed in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Grahamstown and Windhoek, as well as touring internationally to places such as Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. After the tour, the founders, Mark Fleishman, Jennie Reznek and Mandla Mbothwe, returned to South Africa and officially established themselves in Observatory, Cape Town in 1994. Over the years, the theatre has created work independently and in collaboration with Jazzart Dance Theatre, Southern Edge Arts of Western Australia, Theatre Spirale as well as the University of Cape Town (UCT) Drama School amongst many others.

Magnet Theatre aims ‘to celebrate a spirit of theatrical research and to challenge participants in our activities, performers and audience, through experiences that shift bodies, assumptions, feelings, beliefs and understandings.’ Through the exploration of a South African historical and contemporary context, the theatre aims to inspire the community at large and create resources and platforms for audiences and practitioners. The theatre also creates platforms for effective educational processes and established multiple community projects, training and job creation opportunities. Projects such as the Clanwilliam Arts Project have been running since 2001. This is a yearlong arts festival that gives young people an opportunity to explore their talents in the arts.

The theatre contributes significantly in sharing theatre-making and physical theatre skills amongst marginalised South African youth. Their work is also highly regarded in higher educational institutions, the press and award structures in South Africa.

The theatre has also established The Magnet Theatre Educational Trust in 1988, and The Magnet Training and Youth Upliftment Trust in 2011. All the theatre’s activities currently operate through the Educational Trust.

Trustees:

●      Mark Fleishman: BA, Perf. Dip. (Speech & Drama) MA (UCT) PhD (UCT)

●      Mandla Mbothwe: BA (Hons) Perf. Dip. (Speech & Drama) (UCT) MA Theatre Making (UCT)

●      Jennie Reznek: BA, Perf. Dip. (Speech & Drama) (UCT), Diploma Ecole Jacques Lecoq (Paris, France), MA (UCT).

●      Neo Muyanga: Diploma in Philosophical Studies

●      Yolanda Methvin: Social Entrepreneur

●      Sakhela Buhlungu: BA (University of Transkei) BA Hons (UCT), MA (Wits) PhD (Wits)

●      Joonji Mdyogolo: Certificate advanced sub-editing (Wits), BA (Wits) Fullbright Fellow (University of Maryland)

●      Gillian Mitchel: BA (UCT), MBA (Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town)

Management committee:

Directors: Prof. Mark Fleishman (artistic and executive director), Jennie Reznek (artistic director and training coordinator).

Trainee and office manager: Margie Pankhurst

Other staff:

Production Manager: Themba Stewart

Fieldworkers: Yonela Sithela and Zukisane Nongogo, Nolan Africa (Clanwilliam and Cape Town).

Trainee Fieldworker: Rozanne Holland (Clanwilliam)

Resident Performer: Jennie Reznek.

Administrator: Jenny Hewlett 

AWARDS

●      1987: Cheap Flights:

●      VITA Awards:       Nominated as Best Actress

●      Dalro Awards:       Best Actress

●      1991/2/3:       The Show’s not over Till the Fat Lady Sings:

●      FNB VITA Awards: Nominated as Best Director and Best Script

●      VITA Awards: Best Comedy Performances, 1992

●      VITA Awards:       Best Actress, 1993

●      1994 – 1996:       Medea:

●      FNB VITA Awards: Best Production of a new South African Work.

●      1997/8: I DO x 22:

●      FNB VITA Awards: Nominated as Best New Indigenous Script

●      Fleur du Cap Awards: Best Actor

●      2000/1:       Voices Made Night:

●      FNB VITA Awards: Best Director, Best Actress, Best Lighting

●      2006/7/8/9/10:       Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking:

●      Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees: Nominated as Best Actress, 2009

●      Argentinean World Theatre Awards: Nominated as Best Production, 2009

●      Aardklop Kunstefees: Best Actress, 2009

●      2010: Die Vreemdeling:

●      Aardklop Kunstefees: Nominated Best New Afrikaans Production and Best Actor

●      kykNET Fiesta toekennings: Nominated Best New Production, Best Up and Coming Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

●      2103: Autopsy:

●      Fleur Du Cap: Nominated Best Supporting Actress

●      2014: Tree/Boom/Umthi:

●      Dassie Award: Best Children’s Production

●      2016: I Turned Away and She Was Gone:

●      Fleur Du Cap: Nominated Best Actress, Best New South African play, Best Solo, Best Original Sound Design

●      2010 Magnet Theatre received a Fleur du Cap Award for Innovation. The citation reads:

●      In January 2013 Magnet Theatre received an award from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport of the Western Cape Government for its Contribution to the arts in the Drama category.

●      Magnet Theatre was nominated for the 2014 ASSITEJ International Award for Artistic Excellence in Theatre for Children and Youth and received a 4th Honorable Mention (out of 35 companies) for ‘the original style of their work and the wide range of activity from professional theatre to theatre with youngsters’.

●      Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc. and Magnet Theatre received a BASA Award in 2015 in the Sponsorship in Kind category. “The Sponsorship In Kind Award went to Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc., proud partner of The Magnet Theatre Educational Trust, united by a mission to facilitate access to avenues of empowerment and transformation for historically disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.  In particular, the partnership culminated in Magnet’s successful application for Section 18A status, contributing to improved sustainability.”

●      Distell and Magnet Theatre won a BASA Development Award in 2016 for the youth development work in Cape Town townships, Cederberg municipality and The Fulltime Training and Job Creation Programme.

PUBLICATIONS

Maag, T; Spielplatz 24 Germany: Verlag der sutoren

Reznek, Fleishman, Yisa and Marek, (2012) Collected series no.4.The Magnet Theatre ‘Migration’ Plays. Cape Town. Junkets

Lewis and Kreuger, (2016) Magnet Theatre; Three decades of Making Space. Bristol/Chicago & Pretoria: Intellect and Unisa

 

 

References