Theatre Workshop '71

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Theatre Workshop '71 was a training workshop, that gradually it evolved into a professional company.

Also referred to simply as Workshop '71.

See also Workshop theatre

The company

The company was originally founded in 1971 by Witwatersrand University lecturer Robert Kavanagh (also known as Robert Mshengu Kavanagh, Robert McLaren or Mshengu) to serve as a training workshop in improvised theatre-making, but gradually it evolved into a professional company.

The company's aim was to undertake experimental political theatre aimed at changing South African society. Among their more significant productions were UHlanga – The Reed (1975) by James Mthoba, Survival (1976), their last show before they took it to the USA and remained in exile.

The history of the company is documented in Kavanagh’s doctoral thesis, published as Theatre and Cultural Struggle in South Africa (1985).

Their productions


Kavanagh, Robert Mshengu. 1978. Tradition and innovation in the theatre of Workshop ’71. Theatre Quarterly, 7(28):63-67.

Kavanagh, Robert Mshengu. (ed.). 1981. South African People's Plays. London: Heinemann.

Kavanagh, Robert Mshengu. 1985. Theatre and Cultural Struggle in South Africa. London: Zed Books.

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