Spirit Songs – Part 2

An Ensemble Play Telling The Stories Of 50 Young People From Four Cape Town Townships

Rehearsals at iThemba Labantu Lutheran Community Centre.

This is Part 2 of our materials on the production of Spirit Songs (click here for Part 1).

To hear more about the project, we sat down with Yonela Sithela, one of Magnet Theatre’s Culture Gangs Facilitators who was also Music Director of Spirit Songs.

Tell us about the project…
So the project is about the kids from different townships [who come together] to write their own script and perform their show.

How did the participants write the piece?
It’s them who created everything […] They created even the songs themselves […] I was just trying to place their voices in the right places, and the songs in the right places […] We usually give them freedom to write about anything because what we want to do [is] we want them to perform what they want to perform. Want them to tell the story that they want to tell.

How did you put their writing together?
Once we see how their stories are […] then we find a way of combining them together […] We don’t chuck out what […] is different from others, we just find a way to put it together. […] They bring their different views about their locations […] because what they write is how they live […] It’s quite nice because you get to combine what they wrote from different mindsets, from different places.

How do the participants get on with each other?
Their relationship is very tight. They became friends […] After the show that we did last year, they still communicate and, when they came back, you could see that they are still tight.

How have the participants grown?
They’ve grown [in] personality, way of thinking, their way of doing things. […] A lot of them, when they were part of the show last year, they were scared […] they were not free, they were not comfortable. But, this year, you could see that they’ve grown because they’re not scared anymore. They just flow onstage. […]  Last year they were so quiet and waiting for you to tell them what to do […] But this year you could see that, they were suggesting [things…] Some of them will have discovered that they they are good at writing, some of them will have discovered they are good at putting pieces together.

Why is the project important?
I think it’s important because we’re trying to keep them out of the streets when they’re out of school. We try and keep them together and, at the same time, for them to use their creativity, their great minds [… and] to see how talented they are […] So, it’s just important because you keep them busy, you keep them out of the street.

How did you feel working with the participants?
These kids are great […] they’re really up to this, they really want to do this […] They really work hard and what they’re doing now is what they want.

The photographs below show rehearsals at iThemba Labantu Lutheran Community Centre and performances at Capricorn Primary School in Vrygrond.

Click here for Part 1 of our materials on the production of Spirit Songs.

© Dialogue Community Performance / Magnet Theatre