Transformation, freedom at the heart of Market Theatre

The Market Theatre in Johannesburg marked its 40th birthday this week.

The Market Theatre in Johannesburg. Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Bobbyshabangu.

JOHANNESBURG - One of the founders of Johannesburg's iconic Market Theatre says the only way to keep theatre thriving is to recognise and reward talent.

The Market Theatre, which opened just days after the June 16 student uprising in Soweto, marks its 40th birthday this week.

Founder Mannie Manem and other heavyweights in the industry say transformation and freedom remain at the heart of the theatre's quest.

Manem says he is pleased that democracy has opened the doors for young black actors.

"Transformation is something that is ongoing. When we started this place the idea was in many ways what we all wanted the new South Africa to be."

Manem says paying artists and allowing them to make a living from acting gives them dignity.

Meanwhile, actor Atandwa Kani says theatre should be more accessible to the underprivileged.

"The institution has succeeded in placing emerging artists from different spheres, cultures and backgrounds onto that one platform which we all call a stage."

The theatre is currently staging a special production to mark the anniversary and to honour its founders.