The Playroom

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The Playroom is a bilingual play (English and isiXhosa) by Thandolwethu Thando Mzembe

Also referred to simply as Playroom in some cases.

The original text

The "playroom" of the title is a space in a mental institution where three mentally disturbed people who have been placed in an institution, the different characters deal with their various ordeals and traumas. As the story unfolds and the initial fascination with the humour associated with mental illness subsides, personal stories of the characters begin to reveal themselves. Even the male nurse who tends to the patients has skeletons lurking in his cupboard. Thus the play also questions issues of leadership, positions of power within the health system and ultimately asks the question: who is healing who?

The text was the winner of the 2013 Zwakala Festival

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

2014: Performed at the Market Theatre, directed: Thandolwethu Mzembe with Thandolwethu Mzembe, Aphiwe Livi, Luleka Ngcenge, Xola Mntaywa, Khanyiswa Mazwi.

2015: Performed for the Theatre Arts Admin Collective, in the Methodist Church Hall, Observatory, Cape Town in March

2017: Performed in September as part of the Cape Town Fringe, once more directed by the author with Thembekile Komani, Luleka Ngcenge, Babalwa Makwetu, Lubabalo Nontwana and Mkonto Yanga.Lighting by Bamanye Yeko.


Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

The Theatre Arts Admin Collective Newsletter, 7 March 2015[1]

Kulani Nkuna 2014. "Crazy spaces", The Citizen 2 May[2]]

The Playroom, Facebook page[3]

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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