Stage interview: How to Hold the World and stage happy and wholesome theatre for young people, in a time when happy is needed

What: How to Hold the World – for 4 -9 year olds and all ages Language: English When: October 6-10, 2021 Where: The Drama Factory Tickets:  R60; R50 if you but four tickets or more Bookings:
Ticket and book combo: Special offer: Buy a ticket and a book for R180  

After the hiatus of live theatre, during Covid and lockdown, it is exciting to see young theatre makers not only performing but also producing their own original work. Director/writer Juliette Rose-Innes talks about How to Hold the World (geared for 4-9 year olds), premiering at The Drama Factory, from October 6-10, 2021, starring Timothy Stadler. The production is being staged in conjunction with the release of Rose-Innes’ book of the same name, with illustrations by Caitlin Goodwin. The producer is Jeff Brooker and artistic director is Nancy Rademeyer. They are all their early 20s. They are staging this production and publishing the book – without funding – but they have the amazing Sue Diepeveen, proprietor of The Drama Factory in their corner.

TheCapeRobyn: What inspired you to write the story- How to Hold the World– a child or an incident?

Juliette Rose-Innes: There was no particular kid or incident which inspired me in creating How to Hold the World. It was more of an idea which I have had in my mind since I was about 16. I just never brought it to fruition.  The idea came about because it occurred to me that I’ve always been terrible at accepting help. If that had shifted when I was younger, I might be better at it now. The narrative –about accepting help and growing up – expanded during deep lockdown. My dad was sick (Parkinson’s) and I was forced to ask for, and accept, help from others. I had always thought of it just being a children’s book, but I realised that it would make a very sweet play. The original plan was for the show to go to the National Arts Festival in 2020, as part of a student collective run by Jeff [Brooker], but Covid happened. So the piece has been in the works for a while.

TheCapeRobyn: Is this your first production for young people?

Juliette Rose-Innes: Yes, it is. I’ve always been interested in children’s theatre, but the last few years of my life have been dedicated to performance artsy, Abjection-y, Absurdist stuff -which I still love. I felt like making something very happy and wholesome, which I feel is very necessary right now.

TheCapeRobyn: Can you tell us about the team involved in the production -Jeff Brooker, Timothy Stadler and Nancy Rademeyer?

Juliette Rose-Innes: We are all in our 20s and studying together at UCT. Jeff and I are doing Theatre Making. Tim is doing Acting. Nancy is doing Scenography. Jeff has not been involved in a creative capacity in this production but he is holding the producing side together- the money and consulting side. I worked as social media and marketing manager for his shows, Syringa Tree (2019 at The National Arts Festival) and Every Brilliant Thing (2021 at the Drama Factory). He is 23 – so he was 19 when he produced Syringa Tree – at NAF and it won an Ovation Award. He is a very ambitious guy who likes punching above his weight- and does it all. We are students but we want to make it very clear that this isn’t a student production/project, but a professional theatre venture. We have all done extensive work in the professional sphere.

TheCapeRobyn: It must have taken sheer grit and determination to stage a new work to the stage, with all the challenges of Covid?

Juliette Rose-Innes: We had wanted to do this show for NAF but we couldn’t do it live and when faced with staging it online, we decided to postpone, until the time that we could stage it, with an audience. There was so much online content for parents to choose from and which was designed for the screen. We made the decision to wait. It was very disappointing for us. As young theatre makers, we need to get our work out and build an audience and sadly the pandemic delayed things for us. Right now, with the limited opportunities, we realise that established producers don’t want to take risks on new work, with the shaky ground that is pandemic-theatre. They want to sponsor something that they know will make them money and bring in audiences. We know we have something special. If we don’t find a way to market ourselves and our work, we won’t have jobs and we won’t be able to share our work. We want jobs and we want to share our work. Sue Diepeveen of the Drama Factory has been a vital part of helping us to realise our dream –nurturing us and assisting us. We are very excited and grateful to be here –premiering a new show and launching my book (published by Jeff’s company) which will be on sale at The Drama Factory.

How to Hold The World-production credits- premiere season at the Drama Factory- October 2021  

Performer: Timothy Stadler
Writer and director:  Juliette Rose-Innes
Artistic director: Nancy Rademeyer (scenography, set, design)
Producer: Jeff Brooker  – Brooker Productions

How to Hold The World -the book  

Pay R150 for purchase online:  

R130 if bought at The Drama Factory during the show’s run- October 6-10, 2021.
A link to place an order for the book can be found on Instagram and Facebook through Linktree – How to Hold The World platforms  


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