A group of students from the Market Theatre Laboratory are flying to the UK to host theatre-making workshops with budding actors. Picture: Supplied
A group of students from the Market Theatre Laboratory will fly to the UK this week to host a series of theatre-making workshops with budding actors from the north east of England.

This will be followed by a one-off performance of Encountering the Other at the newly restored Darlington Hippodrome on November 27.

The performance is part of an international theatre collaboration exploring digital and live processes to create a production exploring the realities and possibilities of young women in the current moment in a global context. 

Supported by British Council Connect ZA, Encountering the Other is a creative coming together of people from different countries who can learn from each other both socially and artistically.

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The group of students, made up of Ncumisa Ndimeni, Matthew Serantsoma, Sinenhlanhla Mkeyi, Boikobo Masebe, Thumeka Mathindela and Darlington Khoza, were part of the initial first leg of the project, that led them through collaboration with their English counterparts to producing work that focuses mainly on the experiences of women and on the subject of womanhood.

A group of students from the Market Theatre Laboratory are flying to the UK to host theatre-making workshops with budding actors. Picture: Thandile Zwelibanzi

For some of them, like Mathindela, it will be the first time they leave the country.

“I’ve never travelled out of South Africa before so I’m looking forward to learning about the difference in culture of South Africa and the UK, but I must say I am not looking forward to the weather that side,” she said.

While all of them are looking forward to exploring a country different to their own, for Khoza, this is also the opportunity to explore his theatre work even deeper.

“I’m looking forward to digging deeper into the subject matter we were tackling. Last time they [exchange students] were here, we did do some research into the topic, but we didn’t get enough time to explore the work together as a collective. So I think we have something on the floor [the production] and I’m looking forward to having more time to perfect it,” Khoza said.

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The two groups had been in regular contact via technological means to develop the story before October 14, the performance night. Ahead of the event, the English students arrived a week in advance and then the real work began. After five days and several skype and other social media discussions later over the seas, Encountering the Other was ready for SA audiences, and they performed their show to a packed theatre.

Clara Vaughan, a director on the project, said: “We are very excited to be able to offer our students this unique cultural exchange experience, which is a huge opportunity for personal and artistic growth. 

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"I have no doubt that the work created will be resonant and meaningful, as it will explore the performers own experiences and stories, and allow them to share these across very diverse contexts.”