Janni Younge

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Janni Younge is an award-winning puppet creator, puppet designer and director.


Janni Younge Productions

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

She was the Head of Unima (the International Company for Puppetry) in South Africa till 2011, when she joined the Handspring Puppet Company. In 2014 she left Handspring to found her own production company, Janni Younge Productions.

Productions she has designed and worked on include Ubu and the Truth Commission, War Horse, Ouroboros, The Firebird (Die Vuurvoël)


Janni Younge is a director and producer of multimedia, theatrical and visual performance works, with an emphasis on puppetry arts. Janni’s work has been performed widely internationally in North and South America, Africa, Europe, India and the East. Recognition awards include the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre, several Fleur du Cap awards for puppet design and the Nagroda award for direction. A director of Handspring Puppet Company for 4 years, she currently runs Janni Younge Productions. She concurrently directs UNIMA SA (SA Puppetry) an organisation that works for the development and training of visual performance artists and also focuses on SA social development through visual performance mediums. Janni’s works include the creation and direction of Ouroboros (which toured extensively in South Africa, Europe and India); The Firebird that toured in USA to venues including Ravinia and the Hollywood Bowl and Take Flight, currently touring Europe. With Handspring, Janni also directed revivals of William Kentridge’s Woyzeck on the Highveld and Ubu and the Truth Commission and, with Handspring, worked on War Horse and on the Bristol Old Vic’s Midsummer night’s Dream. She created and directed puppetry for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Tempest. Janni is a graduate of the French national school of puppet theatre, has a B.A. in Fine Art and an M.A. in Theatre. Janni is the Grenada Artist in Residence, UC Davis Spring 2018 and will direct an interpretation of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye as part of the program.

Awards, etc

In 2010 she was selected as the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre and in 2012 won a Fleur de Cap award for the design of the puppets in Ouroboros.



Mariana Malan. 2016. Die Vuurvoël binnekort uit SA na Hollywood. Die Burger. Aktueel. 4 Mei 2016: p.3[2]

Mariana Malan. 2016. Younge gaan met ‘kreature’ imponeer. Die Burger 16 May 2016[3]

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