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There be Dragons in Shongweni

Trainers Kaylee McIlroy and Mpilo Straw Nzimande from the Dragons-in-Training seminar, hosted by The Dragon Preservation Society, prepare to train their humans. Val Adamson

Trainers Kaylee McIlroy and Mpilo Straw Nzimande from the Dragons-in-Training seminar, hosted by The Dragon Preservation Society, prepare to train their humans. Val Adamson

Published Nov 20, 2021


MOST times, it’s not the critters who need training ‒ it’s the humans who want to share their lives.

If you’re a Dragon, there’s a brand new theatre with a fabulous new show to open it, and it will help you to let your human learn how to share their best lives with you.

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The theatre is being built at the Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market, and it gets first dibs on a charming new original family show, How to Train Your Human, written by Durban’s Michael Taylor-Broderick.

The show will run on market days from Saturday, December 11 until Saturday, January 8.

The idea was sparked after Taylor-Broderick read Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages for Children. The title is inspired by the popular How to Train Your Dragon films and books.

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How to Train your Human is a Dragons-in-Training seminar hosted by The Dragon Preservation Society. This seminar focuses on teaching all attending Dragons the skills needed to successfully train their humans. Conducted by two highly respected Dragons, the seminar explores the five love languages to unravel the wonders and mystery of creating a path to the human heart and other humans around us. As a bonus, for this particular seminar, the two experts will also be working with all the Dragons to help them discover their own unique Dragon love languages.

The Dragons are played by physical theatre performers Mpilo Straw Nzimande and Kaylee McIlroy – both currently appearing together in the touring production of the Hilton Festival-commissioned nature conservation piece, The Horn of Sorrow.

This Theatresmiths production is suitable for the whole family and has been created, devised and written by Taylor-Broderick – multi-award winning lighting guru and purveyor of theatrical magic ‒ and is directed by Stacey Taylor-Broderick.

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Theatre audiences will remember Broderick’s previously much loved three Theatresmiths productions: the hugely successful, whimsical One Man, One Light; the beautiful ethereal, Jakob, about a lost child who has the surprising ability to guide you towards the light, and the Gold Ovation Award-winning The King of Broken Things, which encourages grown-ups to revisit and re-inhabit the magical places in our minds.

Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market owners Keith and Christine Standeaven wanted to create a performance space at the Saturday morning Shongweni Market to allow families to fall in love with the notion of live theatre again.

“Our market is all about wholesome outdoor family activity: the chance to enjoy some downtime outdoors to unwind, with great stalls, food and music. A theatre is a natural extension of this vision – an opportunity for children to put down their devices and actually engage with the live experience,” explained Christine.

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The Standeavens’ commitment to this vision has been the building of a brand-new theatre space snugly situated at the far side of the market overlooking the magnificent vista of valleys. Technical support and expertise for the new theatre have been provided by market regular, Uptown Funky Junk’s Brandon Bunyan and his Black Coffee Productions.

Shongweni Market welcomes visitors every Saturday until Christmas from 6.30am until 1pm – with special market days on Thursday, December 16; Friday, December 17, and Sunday, December 19 from 8am until 2pm. Browse and buy authentic, original and unusual Christmas gifts while supporting small businesses, and enjoy a leisurely holiday brunch under the trees, with breathtaking views.

The market is home to many kids’ activities and a wide range of food and beverage options, handmade crafts, early morning yoga sessions, live music, plenty of outdoor seating and safe parking.

How to Train your Human is suitable for the whole family. It will be staged at 10am and noon on December 11; December 16; December 17; December 18; December 19 and January 8, with the option to extend further into January.

Tickets are R70 throughout and are available through Quicket in advance / at the door. The show is about 45 minutes long, and there is no interval

Dragons of all ages are especially welcome. In fact, the best-dressed dragon will win a prize.

You can e-mail Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market at [email protected] or visit

Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market is a member of 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation. For ideas of other activities and attractions in the area, visit

The Independent on Saturday

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