The Revealers play tours 20 schools in South African townships
The play version of The Revealers is being performed in 20 schools in Soweto and Mamelodi townships, South Africa, by the Traveling Troupe of the South African National Children's Theatre, from February 28 to March 7.
"The play will be performed courtesy of the National Lottery," writes Moira Katz, CEO of the National Children's Theatre. "The schools in Soweto and Mamelodi and all serve underprivileged families. The children are mostly from grades 6, 7, 8 and 9 and 10."
Doug Wilhelm's novel on bullying, which has been the focus of reading-and-discussion projects in over 1,000 schools across the U.S. and internationally, was adapted for the stage by the author with Lindsay Berdan of Minneapolis, a former middle-school teacher and drama director. The play has been performed by schools in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Florida, and Illinois; this is the first time it has been taken on a multi-school tour, and the first time it has been staged outside the United States.
Based in two historic homes in central Johannesburg, the "National Children's Theatre is the foremost, busiest and most successful children's theatre in South Africa," says the NCT's website. "We are an established, international player in the field, big enough to bring to our students and audiences the latest advances in our productions, yet small enough to provide our students with personal attention."
Soweto, the historically black township in Johannesburg, is best-known as the birthplace and heart of the movement that ended the apartheid system of racial segregation in South Africa. Mamelodi, a similar township, is outside Pretoria.
"What makes this wonderful production even more special to me is that I was greatly inspired while writing The Revealers by the music of South Africa's freedom movement," Doug Wilhelm says.
As a novel, The Revealers opens with a quote from a song about Nelson Mandela by Johnny Clegg, whose musical groups Juluka and Savuka were South Africa's first prominent mixed-race bands. The quote is from the opening verse of Clegg's song "Asimbonanga," which became very popular in South Africa while Mandela was still imprisoned on Robben Island:
We are all islands, till comes the day
We cross the burning water
To learn more about the NCT's production of "The Revealers," please click here.