Archive for the ‘Autocourse’ Category

Tuesday (1 November 2011), was the Arts and Culture Day showcase at the Dominican school for the Deaf in Wynberg. And it was amazing.  The MEC for Social Development, Albert Fritz, opened the day and it was just great to have him come and recognise the the day!


Each year, our trainees, Marlon, Christo and Sinethemba are given the opportunity to teach drama to students at the school culminating in an end of year practical exam. Our trainees are being trained in non-verbal visual theatre, groomed to one day join FTH:K as professional members. Their task was to adapt simple children’s stories for stage and this turned out to be hugely entertaining for everyone who came!

Constantiaberg Bulletin 3 November 2011

This is now my 3rd year of being a part of the Dominican Arts and Culture Day, and I can say it is the best one yet. The students and trainees are just improving in leaps and bounds! And the Day itself is growing- the addition of the Arts award was just awesome. I always feel so blessed to witness the progress of the Dominican learners- they are truly inspirational! – Jayne Batzofin, FTH:K Theatre Maker



Since last year, the trainees have come a long way and are starting to show strong signs of individuality, style and flair. With a small budget, the trainees purchased props and costume. In an adaptation of ‘Pugwash the Pirate’  all ten actors had their own swords were dressed beautifully in coloured pirate pants and tops. It’s these simple gestures that point to a much larger understanding of theatre-making.

What was awesome to see was the use of space and clear imagery used by all the trainee directors. It is so rewarding to see their training at work. Sitting on the side-lines, us arts managers couldn’t help but realise that the standard of our trainees work has increased dramatically, because of a range of improvements to our curriculum, but also quite importantly, being exposed to Gallaudet University in DC and working with artists at the Quest Visual Theatre Company.

Dominican Arts and Culture Day 2011 008

It’s absolutely amazing and feels so rewarding that our work, with just a handful of Deaf trainees, has been so successful. The potential of what we dreamed of is being realised, and is evident of how much more we can do for the Deaf and theatre. 

The ultimate dream, is to have our trainees compete against any hearing actor in a non-verbal piece. We have successfully managed this in our award-winning pieces QUACK! and Gumbo, and are now transferring these skills to the next generation.

The FTH:K team was thanked by the Dominican School for the Deaf, not just as a procedural event, but for raising the profile of Deaf theatre in the country and for the continuous work done at the school.

This post is for the team: the creative team, the trainees, the learners and teachers at the Dominican and the FTH:K arts managers. Bravo! 


The end of the year for FTH:K means a time of showing you all what we have been up to throughout the year.  Well, all the stuff that we’re allowed to show you, of course!

Ek Roep in rehearsal An exciting project that we have been working on is a performance called Ek Roep Vir Jou Vanaand which some of you might remember from the showcase we did last year.  The piece came out of our Autocourse programme and this year, FTH:K‘s leading Deaf performer, Lysander Barends, was thrilled to receive his first individual funding grant from the National Arts Council for this autobiographical performance.

Since then, the Ek Roep team have been hard at work turning the short performance into a full-length work, touring it to schools in and around Cape Town, and preparing it for its short run at the Intimate Theatre from 27th – 31st October.

Performed by Lysander Barends and Marlon Snyders, and directed by Liezl de Kock, Ek Roep Vir Jou Vanaand is an exciting two-hander that takes an intimate and sometimes off-beat look at the many
facets of a father and son trying to make ends meet in antagonizing times. Their humour and relentlessness, coupled with shadow puppetry, soundscapes and non-verbal performance, make these characters and their story a visual gem.

  • Directed by Liezl de Kock
  • Based on an original idea by Lysander Barends
  • Devised by Lysander Barends and Marlon Snyders
  • Set design by Jade Bowers
  • Venue: Intimate Theatre, Cape Town
  • Dates: 27 (preview) -31 October 2009
  • Times: 7:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Tickets: R20 (preview) & R30
  • Cast: Lysander Barends and Marlon Snyders

Contact us if you would like to know more or if you would like to book your tickets.

Ek Roep Collage ONCRM 600

In 2008, FTH:K launched a new element to its Integrated Professional Development Programme called the Autocourse.

What does this mean?
Glad you asked…

07 headless corridor 9 may - smaller On Monday, Company Trainees (and some of the professional performers who want to have some fun) are given a theme by way of a sign, a word, or an image, and by Friday, they must present a short performance to the rest of the company and invited guests.  Quite simply.  While allowed to use FTH:K‘s 04 Into the Shadow 4 Aprilresources (props, set, rehearsal space, training, exercises etc), they can’t get assistance from anyone in the Company.  In their own way, on their own time, they are tasked to interrogate the theme how  ever they choose to, and create something worthwhile putting onstage.  It can be anything, from the beginning of a narrative to an opening image, to a short scene, but the idea is for them to channel their investigations in such a way as to begin honing their own personal signatures and voices.  And after everyone has performed, the audience offers feedback, comments and ideas.

06-death-of-marat-visual-25After a couple of months, our Artistic Director, Rob Murray, upped the ante by introducing the “I’m Bored” signal.  Why?  Coz he’s mean like that!  No, no, not really.  The “I’m Bored” signal is simple: if any audience member is bored when watching an Autocourse presentation, they can raise their hand and stop the performance immediately.  No  questions asked.  Now, this might seem a little harsh (and those members who have already experienced the feeling of being in mid-performance and having to stop would agree!) but the “I’m Bored” signal was designed to encourage performers to make their creative choices very carefully, recognising that an audience needs to be engaged from beginning to end of anything they produce onstage: in this case, a short performance.

What results is two-fold.  On one hand, the performers are creating small scenes or kernels of what could be developed into a full-length work later (which has happened on a number of occasions already); 03 Dirty Shirts Design 14 March copyon the other hand, a process of self-screening happens, where performers have to take a brutal look at their material and decide what is performance-ready and what isn’t.  Knowing when something is ready for an audience is difficult enough at the best of times, and we totally respect the value of putting a piece onstage that might not yet be complete, and allowing the feedback from the audience to guide you in the completing of it.  But that doesn’t mean we should not practice the skill of identifying when something is ready or not.

I think we may owe Jacques Lecoq a bit of cred here, as I think the Autocourse is borrowed from his school, but hey…I don’t think he’d mind, do you?

These sessions happen every Friday afternoon from 12:00 – 1:00’ish, so if you’d like to be a part of our audience, get hold of us and we’ll put you on the list.

Ready or not.