Award-Winning Dance At Wits #969festival

2017 promises to be an exciting year at Wits Theatre’s 969 Festival as it celebrates its 14th birthday, hosts the National Arts Festival’s best theatre and enchants with award-winning dance productions. It’s all happening between 14 and 30 July

As always, the lineup at 969 is diverse and exciting with 28 theatre, dance and music productions that make time out at the theatre memorable. For audiences who love dance, they won’t be disappointed at the stand-out lineup of dance performances at the festival. This year, the 6 remarkable productions that feature on Wit’s stages have been created by acclaimed choreographers, some even award-winning.

Take for example this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner Thandazile Radebe. Her stunning piece, Sabela, explores the tension between one’s humanity, names and numbers, bodies and bio metrics, space and passwords, fantasy and reality. “Through our names we want to find out how it feels to be infinitely more complex than we are. Through our names we want to be free from ourselves and transcend through each other until we are one,” Radebe remarks. Sabela is a fascinating journey through life without the limitations of the three dimensions and will have audiences entranced.

Another 2016 Standard Bank Ovation Award winner at 969 this year is Bailey Snyman presenting Burn which explores the tense relationship between Earth and Man, and how they hold each other ransom. The unforgettable piece is a full-length duet which is all at once strong, powerful and explosive. “It’s a fierce dance work that tests the limits of the human body. After all, humanity is the Earth’s most intimate friend,” Snyman remarks.

Award-winning dance company the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) is bringing yet another striking production to the stage. With Nothing But Silence They Turned Their Bodies To Face The Noise (or Noise for short) is a response to the historically-dense present. It evokes the ‘slow rhythms of growth and decay’ around us and tackles the explosive issues of an imploding South Africa. The piece is intended to make its audiences think as it brings into sharp focus the ever-present realities of environmental degradation and climate change. This new work was conceived and created by PJ Sabbagha and Athena Mazarakis in collaboration with the company.

A 2017 Standard Bank Ovation Award winner Nijinsky’s War is a spectacular collaboration which combines both theatre and dance to draw parallels between Nijinsky, one of the world’s greatest dances of all time, and acclaimed dancer/choreographer, Ignatius van Heerden. Nijinsky was diagnosed with schizophrenia and committed to various asylums for the last 30 years of his career. Van Heerden draws on the famous dancer’s remarkable yet tragic life to provide depth to his performance which is directed by Gopala Davis.

Choreographer Dada Masilo’s Giselle promises to surprise audiences as she breaks away from the classic narrative and sets the piece in rural South Africa by exploring traditional African rituals and ceremonies. “I didn’t want to box the women as victims; men also get heartbroken. The work is not about hate for men, but about betrayal, heartbreak, grief and revenge. And, unlike the ballet, my version is unforgiving. It is NOT a pretty work,” she says. While referring to the original ballet score, music composer Philip Miller stunningly interlaces his composition with African voice, drums, cello, violin and harp. Masilo’s interpretation of the popular ballet will have audiences rethinking the classics.

Vacuum generates impossible images and fantastic paintings, an interplay of bodies appearing and disappearing between black holes and dazzling lights. The stunning piece, which is conceived and choreographed by Philippe Saire, is the third part in a series of performances called Dispositifs (‘stage devices’), in convergence with visual arts. After Black Out in 2011 and NEONS Never Ever, Oh! Noisy Shadows in 2014, Vacuum explores a new aspect of our sensory perception through an optical illusion created with two neon tubes. With this third piece, Saire further explores the visual perception of movement. The result is both lyrical and inspiring, as it moves forward through the history of art, from Renaissance paintings to photographic development.

The best part of the 969 Festival is that it offers a convenient way to experience a cross-section of South African talent. The programme has been specifically structured for theatregoers to enjoy several theatre, dance and music shows in one evening with time for refreshments and drink at the theatre bar in between.


Please check the attached schedule for times, dates and venues. Tickets are available at and you can choose to book online or through any Pick n Pay store. Even better, you can load your ticket on your Pick n Pay Smart Shopper card. Tickets can also be purchased at Wits Theatre’s Box Office. Contact Yuhl on / Bridget on for block bookings.


Wits Theatre Box office:

011 717 1381


Ticket prices are as follows:       

Full price online – R75.00

Full price at Box office – R 80.00

Pensioner, Wits Staff and Student Discount online – R 60.00 on presentation of ID document or valid student card

Pensioner, Wits Staff and Student Discount Box office – R 65.00 (on presentation of ID document or valid student card



Online staff and public – R 50.00

Box Office staff and public – R 60.00

Online Students – R 40.00

Box Office students and block bookings – R 50.00 on presentation of ID document or valid student card

No WSOA passes accepted

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