Drama for Life Sex Actually 2016: Revealing Vulnerable Bodies

Drama for Life is bringing critical, bold theatre into the public domain through its 9th annual Drama for Life Sex Actually Festival. Hosted at Wits University, the Drama for Life Sex Actually Festival is a cross-community arts education, activism and therapeutic intervention. The festival is curated in a way that allows arts practitioners and audience members to holistically engage with and interrogate the complexities surrounding themes of sex, sexuality, relationships, culture, gender, HIV and sexual reproductive health; within human rights and social justice discourse. The Drama for Life Sex Actually Festival 2016 is asking; what does it mean to be vulnerable? Vulnerability is exposing, daunting, dangerous and deeply embodied in our understanding of what it means to be human, to feel, and to be witnessed by others.

This year we invite you to re-discover, re-imagine and re-ignite vulnerability in a city, and country, where bodies are painted with race-brushes, classed by bank statements, and violated by outdated patriarchal legacies.


What to expect:

Refiloe Lepere brings to stage Between Sisters, a ritualistic exploration of two sisters and their relationship with their madam. The play is inspired by Xoliswa Dilata’s thesis on the relationship between black madams and their black employees. It brings to focus the masks we wear in daily life; the roles we play that define us without capturing our true selves. “In South Africa the relationship of the helper and employer is always a complex one. It has become even more intricate in post-apartheid South Africa, as it still carries the stench of the segregated and classist past,” said Lepere. The play offers a new way of looking at the helpers in our world, as ingenious and ambitious. It questions the idea of what is an authentic performance of self. It also moves us to re-imagine our expectations on the representation of domestic workers in our lives. 07 – 09 September @ 19h30; 10 September @ 15h00 & 19h30. Thursday 08 September @ 13h15 = WitsTix, Wits Downstairs Theatre.


Songezo Mcilizeli presents Audition, a work that looks at social programming and individualism controlling one’s state of mind. Mcilizeli says the piece comes from a place of deep introspection. “We all want to be part of something but we have to audition to do so. We audition for a job, for new love, life itself is an audition. In these moments, we have to remember our individuality and embrace that. We don’t have to change who we are to be part of something.” Whether it be your marital or social status, political leanings, demographics or vocation, this behavior is what keeps us rattled. These social rules and pressures infiltrate one’s mind, becoming the voice of (un)reason. 7 September @13:15, 8 September @ 18:30, 9 September @ 20:00 & 10 September @ 18:30, Wits Amphitheatre.


Jozi Shorts is a compilation of short sharp plays created and curated by Bitesize Theatre. The three short plays are performed by the same cast and director. The plays are a collection of funny, sweet, silly, poignant and stylistic love stories. From the awkwardness of asking your husband on a date (This Night), to an over-the-top ‘possible infidelity’ comedy (Film Noir), to a couple destined to be each other’s side dishes no matter the obstacles (Goodbye); this collection of short plays explores love, grief, pain, and humor. 9 September @ 17:00 & 10 September @ 16:30, Wits Amphitheatre.


SexSports! returns to the campus library lawns! Using a fun-day approach, this lunchtime event will have students engage in team events that require them to work together, answer questions, and share important information about reproductive health, sex, relationships and HIV/AIDS. Join in on the fun on Friday 09 September at 13:15-14:15!


This year launches a new facet of the festival, the Rehearse: Reveal Programme. This programme offers young theatre-makers an experimental space to showcase their work. This new feature promises curious audiences punchy, sexy, rubbing theatre, and is one to not be missed. See the Reveal: Rehearse Programme at www.dramaforlife.co.za


Downstairs Theatre



Other spaces

Wednesday, 7thSeptember 2016 19:30- Between Sisters (opening) 13:15 – Audition 17:00 Can We Talk


19:00 – Sex Actually opening (Main Foyer)
Thursday, 8thSeptember 2016 13:15 – Between Sisters (Town hall with Panel Discussion)

19:30 – Between Sisters

18:30 – Audition



17:00 When Morning Comes


Friday, 9thSeptember 2016 19:30 – Between Sisters 17:00 – Jozi Shorts


20:00 – Audition

17:00 Spilt Milk



11:00 – Unzipped (Main Theatre)

13:15 — Sex Sports (Library Lawns)

Saturday, 10thSeptember 2016 15:00 – Between Sisters

19:30 – Between Sisters (Closing)

21:00 – Strike

16:30 – Jozi Shorts


18:30 – Audition

14:00 Pregnant Lesbian

16:00 Innocent Yet Guilty

18:00 Finding Me


About the artists

Refiloe Lepere is a Dramaturge at the SA State Theatre. She is also a lecturer and Post-Graduate research coordinator at Drama for Life, University of Witwatersrand. Refiloe received her MA from New York University and is completing a PhD on the efficacy of Performance as a research method to document the oral histories of domestic workers in South Africa. She was recently named as one of Mzansi’s 100 Influencers.

Songezo Mcilizeli is a choreographer, dancer and facilitator. He began his dance training at Zama Dance in Gugulethu, Cape Town. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology in 2003, with a B Tech diploma in dance. He was a Founding Member of Tshwane Dance Theatre and later a member of the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative. He has toured and performed on several international platforms, including as a member of the South African cast of The Lion King.

Mlindelwa Lilli Mahlangu is an actor, voiceover artist, theatre director and scriptwriter. His career in the arts began in 2000 when he finally embraced his talents in writing and acting. He first took to stage in a poetry session in Pimville, Soweto and he never looked back ever since that stand-up ovation. Lilli has also held the position of Youth Development Manager at the Joburg Theatre.

About Drama for Life

Drama for Life, based at the University of the Witwatersrand, is an arts centre for social transformation and healing. We are dedicated to transforming arts, culture and heritage research, education and practice in Africa. Our commitment toward South Africa is found in our academic, short course and community engagement programmes and projects throughout the country. This commitment is embedded in a belief that the performing arts have the ability to give voice, respect and dignity to all who live in our country. It is the arts that enable us to imagine new narratives and to experience a new consciousness.

Tickets available at Wits Box Office, the full festival programme can be found online at www.dramaforlife.co.za or on the Drama for Life Facebook page.

ENQUIRIES: 011 717 4672 / zanele.madiba@wits.ac.za

For updates please visit www.facebook.com/witsdramaforlife

Editor's choice