Theatre for Africa

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Theatre for Africa (1989-) is a theatrical company.

The company

Founded by Nicholas Ellenbogen in 1989, and based on his earlier improvisational work with the Loft Theatre Company, the company utilizes mime, mimetic sounds, minimalist costuming and stage settings to tell stories and address a range of issues. The performers are expected to be multi-skilled and are trained in improvisational techniques to develop texts. Well known company members over the years have been Ellis Pearson, Brendan Grealy, Bheki Mkhwane, Liz Szymczak, *.

It has become particularly well known for its award-winning work on ecological issues on the one hand, and for the commercially successful series of Raiders plays. These works have been taken on various intentional tours, including many countries in Africa

In 1991-2 the company initiated and managed Envirovision, a primary schools' environmental play workshop.

The plays and productions

Among their most prominent works have been Horn of Sorrow (1989), Elephant of Africa (1992), Guardians of Eden (1996) and Spirit of the Lake (1997).

For a fulll listing of the plays done by Theatre for Africa, see the entry on Nicholas Ellenbogen


Theatre for Africa and Nicholas Ellenbogen have received numerous forms of recognition over the years, including Command Performances for royalty and international leaders. (See entries on individual plays as well as the entry on Nicholas Ellenbogen.)

Among the most prominent awards have been:

1990: An AA Life Vita Award for Horn of Sorrow and Pick of the Fringe Awards at Grahamstown for Horn of Sorrow, Kloof Eagle and Raiders of the Lost Aardvark

1991: A Nativity nominated for the Dawie Malan Award for best South African Play; Horn of Sorrow and Kloof Eagle awarded the Edinburgh Scotsman Fringe First Award; Ellenbogen receives an award from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)[1] for his exceptional contribution to environmental conservation.

1995: Theatre for Africa receives the WWF's Merit Award for Innovative Environmental Education

1996: Guardians of Eden receives the Herald Angel Award, the Edinburgh Scotsman Fringe First Award and The Secretary's Open Forum Certificate of Appreciation (on behalf of the USA State Department).

2006: Ellenbogen received a Fleur du Cap Award for best supporting actor for his role in Twelfth Night at Maynardville.

2014: Ellenbogen honoured with the Fleur de Cap Lifetime Achievement Award.


Nicholas Ellenbogen and Liz Szymczak (eds). 2003. Nicholas Ellenbogen's Horn of Sorrow and Elephant of Africa. Cape Town: Theatre for Africa.

Nicholas Ellenbogen and Liz Szymczak (eds). 2003. Nicholas Ellenbogen: Horing van Hartseer en Olifant van Afrika. Cape Town: Theatre for Africa.

Theatre for Africa. (n.d.) The Complete Works of Nicholas Ellenbogen and Theatre for Africa Claremont, Cape Town.

Veronica Baxter and James Aitchison. 2006. The playful theatre of Nicholas Ellenbogen. 1985–1990. In South African Theatre Journal Vol 20: pp. 48-64.[2]

"Nicholas Ellenbogen" In: IMDb[3]

Percy Tucker. 1997. Just the Ticket. My 50 Years in Show Business. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.

Return to

Return to South African Theatre Venues, Companies, Societies, etc

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page