Drama for Life in partnership with ASSITEJ SA presents: The 12th Drama for Life Conference and Festival

Masidlale: Exploring connection’ is an invitation to explore the current Arts landscape right now in the time of COVID 19. In response to the global pandemic DFL and ASSITEJ South Africa invite you to a new play space for finding ourselves in the here and now, an intergenerational collaborative exploration with students, learners, children, artists, facilitators, young academics and DFL alumni and staff, where everyone is invited to share and be included equitably.

The Conference Festival investigates the fundamental questions of:


• How do we play, explore and co create now?

• How can the Arts respond to disconnection?

• How do we ‘come together’ to create during this time?

• How can theatre be reimagined as a place for healing and connection?

• Who are our collaborators and how do we journey together?

This explorative co created space will be a research generating opportunity which will seek to capture the processes of young artists creating, connecting and making Art in this time. The space will give priority and focus to the youth, while showcasing their creativity with and for children and the wider community of South Africa.

We are calling interested artists, performers, students, academics, learners, facilitators, directors and teachers to take part in this explorative engagement, which will take place online and will include the following:

  • Zoom conversations
  • Online creative experiment/s
  • Online/virtual Performance and discussion
  • Panel conversations


The ‘Masidlale: Exploring Connection’ festival and DFL Conference collaboration aims to create conversations around the work, performance and voice of the youth/young people for a learner-centered festival. The Conference will be inclusive of young people performing, talking, presenting, giving expert advice on theatre and collaborating on panels. This invites young people to learn, listen and create together through facilitated engagement with artists, performance, and research, with a focus on emerging and young artists and the work which can be created at this time of distancing.

This programme aims to:

• Celebrate and nurture the child as dramaturg, the child as creative collaborator, and theatre mediation for children and young people

• Invite learners, students, academics and scholars to participate in active research and performance as equals so they can experience themselves as researchers, collaborators, storytellers, artists, designers, makers and/or creators alongside a multi-generational spectrum of academics and practitioners;

• Foster a new generation and new audience of arts-aligned and theatre-going South Africans/Africans.

• Share CURIOSITY, IMAGINATION, WONDER and CREATIVITY in finding new ways to express and create building towards personal and community resilience in this time of uncertainty and unpredictability.

• Enhance participants’ perspectives by grappling with relevant, age appropriate themes and showcasing work which is of the highest quality

• Encourage participants to discover new worlds through theatre, storytelling, performance, research and the arts.

Focus of Conference: To gain experiences working with learners as co-researchers

The particular focus of this festival/conference will be for students to:

  • Gain first-hand experience in nurturing theatre in children, teenagers and students through facilitating, curating, research and practice;
  • Develop hands-on, playful performances, artwork and arts experiences that invite participants of all ages to experience themselves as designers, makers and creators;
  • Present and reflect on research which is aligned to relevant courses at Drama for Life and how that research can have a wider impact in communities, groups, schools and classrooms beyond WITS.

We are excited about innovative and relevant ideas, thoughts and suggestions you may have about creating, reimagining and reaching out in this unprecedented time. If you are interested in participating in this experimental space please fill in this google form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1CMEU_rm82hwCQ1KNit6DqIlH1vkqrY3xljb49-6Cvcw/viewform?ts=5ed630a3&edit_requested=true

Deadline for submission: 20th July 2020

CONFERENCE DATES: 20th-24th August 2020

For enquiries, kindly email Zanele Bhengu here: zanele.bhengu@wits.ac.za