7/29/2014 (8:14pm) 2 notes

Olivia hits the ground running

Olivia Gentile, our current Volunteer from England hit the ground running when she arrived at the Piet Patsa Community Arts Centre and immediately started working with our Monday group of children. She immediately got them playing, seamlessly interweaving play and team building by taking them through trust,concentration and physical exercises. 

7/29/2014 (7:51pm)

Olivia Gentile, Our Current Volunteer

In 2013 Olivia graduated from Plymouth University with a First Class Honours Degree in ‘Theatre and Performance’. Simultaneously, she trained in theatre and dance at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth. Both of these institutions bestowed in her a passion for devising and improvisation, and she trained in methods of theatre and dance creativity which involved working from participant orientated foundations. Her training includes Contemporary theatre and dance, improvisation, physical theatre, clowning, mask work and Ballet.

In her second year of University (2012) she began to gain teaching experience by running theatre workshops in Primary and Secondary Schools. At the end of her second year she got a job as an Assistant Practitioner, teaching theatre and dance at the Theatre Royal Plymouth. She continues to work there today and is progressing her way through a theatre teacher-training scheme that the Theatre Royal run. In her third year of University (2013), she was employed to take part in an Applied Theatre Project called ‘Healthy Lifestyles’, which had been commissioned by the Government and was being run by Headbangers Theatre Company. As part of this project she taught week-long workshops, which used theatre to teach Year 5 children to live and eat more healthily. 

Since graduating University she has continued her teacher training both at the Theatre Royal and through undertaking a dance teacher-training course at the Barbican Theatre. She has furthered her experiences in this field by setting up her own weekly theatre and dance class for 5-7 year olds called Little Entertainers. In addition she manages a Playscheme for Primary aged children and is currently working as a Teaching Assistant at Leigham Primary School. She also undertakes some freelance theatre teaching work and has started directing short flashmob-like performances.

She has developed a great enthusiasm for working with children and young people and a passion for providing education as well as a learning environment in which children and young people can grow in confidence, feel stimulated and eager to learn, and build friendships. She hugely enjoys the creation and reception of theatre and the arts and she possesses a desire to develop in others this same passion. Involvement in theatre can help individuals to develop confidence, teamwork, communication skills, and to build friendships. Olivia takes pleasure in helping participants to develop that confidence and social enjoyment in the same way theatre teachers and directors once supported her.

Other Arts subject in which Olivia possesses qualifications are an A Level in Art and Design (2010) and extensive dance training in Contemporary Dance and Ballet including RAD Grade 8 Ballet (2008) and IDTA Intermediate Ballet (2010). Olivia also has an A Level in Psychology (2010) and qualifications in Safeguarding (2013), First Aid (including Outdoor First Aid) (2012) and Fire Safety (2014). 

In the last couple of years she has also participated in teaching and directing some short-term theatre projects and classes including classes for children and adults with special educational needs and a site-specific theatre project for disadvantaged teenagers.

Olivia has already started working with our children and will be with us for the next three weeks. Her theatre games have been taken with march enthusiasm here at Dramatic Need

More pictures from our recent collaboration with New York-based graphic design non-profit Global Art and Design Project. Three well-established young graphic designers/visual artists, Sindiso Nyoni, Minenkulu Ngoyi and Isaac Zavale, spent some time with Dramatic Need children this month making amazing images and screen prints at the Piet Patsa Arts Centre in Viljoenskroon.

Global Art and Design Project (artdept.co) was established by a former Dramatic Need collaborator and volunteer who wanted to offer children in remote parts of Africa creative opportuities along similar lines as Dramatic Need, but with an emphasis on vocationally specific design and computer coding. GADP were our primary partners in last year’s ARTiculate art exhibition and we are thrilled that these, the first of GADP volunteers, have come to work with us.


Winners of POPCAP’14 Announced

Patrick Willocq is a photographer, who is one of the 5 Winners of POPCAP’14. Patrick won the award for the 2013 series titled, I am Walé Respect Me. For this project, he dove deeply into an initiation ritual of the Ekonda pygmies in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Ekondas believe that the most important moment in the life of a woman is the birth of her first child.

The young mother (usually 15 to 18) is called Walé (“primiparous nursing mother“). She returns to her parents where she remains secluded for a period of 2 to 5 years. During her seclusion, a Walé is under very special care. She must also respect a taboo on sex during the whole period and is given a similar status to that of a patriarch. The end of her seclusion is marked by a dancing and singing ritual. The choreography and the songs have a very codified structure but also contain unique qualities specific to each Walé. She sings the story of her own loneliness, and with humor praises her own behavior while discrediting her Walé rivals.

This series is a personal reflection of women in general and the Walé ritual specifically. But first and foremost, it is the result of a unique collaboration with young pygmy women, their respective clans, an ethnomusicologist, an artist and many artisans of the forest. Working together, our mutual experiences become richer giving birth to “I am Walé Respect Me”.

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7/25/2014 (3:25pm) 3 notes

Our first collaboration with New-York based Global Art and Design Project reaps rewards!: Young Graphic Designers Share Their Work With Local Children

As part of our new collaboration with New York-based graphic design non-profit Global Art and Design Project, three well-established young graphic designers/visual artists spent some time with Dramatic Need children this month.

Global Art and Design Project (artdept.co) was established by a former Dramatic Need collaborator and volunteer who wanted to offer children in remote parts of Africa creative opportuities along similar lines as Dramatic Need, but with an emphasis on vocationally specific design and computer coding. GADP were our primary partners in last year’s ARTiculate art exhibition and we are thrilled that these, the first of GADP volunteers, have come to work with us.

The designers, Sindiso Nyoni, Minenkulu Ngoyi and Isaac Zavale were unsure what to expect when they arrived at this remote outpost in the rural Free State of South Africa.

It was not easy at first when Sindiso introduced their process for the children to understand what graphic design was all about, but a few minutes down the line when the volunteers began to demonstrate their processes, everyone got their hands dirty and the creative juices began to flow! The results were startling and we will be sharing more of the children’s work on the blog over the next week. Over 50 children worked with the three volunteers and Global Art and Design Project have promised to organise for their return in September to host further workshops with other children. 

Global Art and Design Project:


We are using creativity as an entrepreneurial tool for global development by providing access to technology, scholarship support and arts education programs emphasizing design and digital media to secondary school students in under-served schools in the developing world.


Art, design and code are practical and powerful tools that can heal individuals in post-conflict areas, unlock new ways of communicating, and create alternative educational and employment opportunities. More specifically for youth, promoting creativity has the potential to help students who have been traumatized to process their emotions and humanize their experiences, to aid in the development of their creative thinking skills and, with creative jobs on the rise, to facilitate access to a rapidly growing professional field. Vitally, technological skills and creative thinking can foster an entrepreneurial society which is essential to economic growth and development.


We focusing our initial efforts in South Africa, where more than half the population lives below the poverty line and five million people have HIV/AIDS. A critical 55.6% of the population is under the age of 24 and 48% of 15-24 year olds are currently unemployed. These issues are steeped in South Africa’s tumultuous history of apartheid, which, despite being legally dismantled in 1994, still causes lingering socioeconomic stratification.

Notwithstanding, South Africa has many beacons for global development. Among the brightest of these is its artistic culture. The country’s rich history has fostered a dynamic and creative populace, which has rendered South Africa the sixth healthiest market for design in the world. Cape Town recently won its bid to become the “World Design Capital” in 2014, reflecting the strength and dynamism of South Africa’s well-rooted creative culture.


 Sindiso Nyoni, (left) is a Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) born, self developed Graphic artist who has been described as a contemporary illustrator, activist, street-artist, and multi-disciplinary graphic designer. Also known as R!OT, his work has been published locally; exhibited at International Biennial Poster Exhibitions and he has collaborated on projects which have won Cannes Lion awards. The Johannesburg based graphic artist, tackles some of Africa’s most pressing issues in the form of visual art. His work primarily consists of a pencil, ink, pastels, gauche, acrylic and digital media fusion, to create a subversive ‘street’ style.  His work has been showcased locally as well as far afield as New York, London, Zagreb, and The Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City.





Sindiso Nyoni


Tel: +27760361616

Email: sindiso@studioriot.com

Alphabet Zoo is a duo of young Johannesburg based traditional printmaking artists that formed a street-culture zine that invites collaboration from other young talented artists, illustrators, publishers and designers. Alphabet Zoo is made up of two artist Minenkulu Ngoyi and Isaac Zavale. Ngoyi and Zavale both studied at Artist Proof Studios and have been exhibiting on group shows and indiependent project for the past four years including…“Legends Of Culture”, 12 Decades- Maboneng, AS SEEN ON TV” Sibi Gallery and AKA- Exhibition, TWO BY TWO gallery, Johannesburg to mansion a few.They work from their studio in Newtown and are involved with running the newly opened print studio ‘Prints on Paper’.

Their work explores printmaking in a publication form of posters, zine, paste.

Twitter: @alphabet_zoo
Blog: http://alphabetzoosa.tumblr.com/









#Global Art and Design Project#http://artdept.co/#Sindiso#Riot#Graphic Design#volunteers

7/24/2014 (3:15pm)

Piet Patsa Community Arts Centre has been a hive of activity

The last full month has seen us work and play flat out with very little time time to breathe. It has been an exciting month with wonderful people coming in various capacities to be with us and contribute to our processes both artistically and administratively. 

On the 29th of June a member of the dramatic need Board of Trustees, Vanessa Garwood in the company of the Assistant Director Ruby McGuigan visited the Centre on a tour of duty. The two wonderful ladies lit our Centre with their personalities and a desire to see us improve and move forward. They hit the ground running and visited almost all our stakeholders, friends of Dramatic Need and well wishers. Most of all they gave us the thumbs up we needed and left us when we had gotten used to their warmth and wished they had become a permanent part of the day to day running of this Centre


Born in Israel 1982, Vanessa studied painting and sculpture for three years at Charles Cecil Studios in Florence.  Now she lives and works in London focusing mainly on commissions and working towards exhibitions.  She makes work from life on many subjects in different mediums: figurative portraits and conversation pieces, nudes, landscapes in oil, bronze and plaster sculptures, works on paper in charcoal, pen, ink.

 The training in the ‘sight-size’ technique learnt in Italy has served as a foundation to build her own approach which has given way to a much more flexible style and application.  She spent time painting and sculpting abroad in Europe, Africa and South America, also a three month long sculpture apprenticeship with the South African sculptor Dylan Lewis in Stellenbosch.

 Today she is working in her studio, London SW10, where she takes commissions and works on an upcoming exhibitions.

 She has exhibited at;

-The 2006 BP Award at the National Portrait Gallery, winning the Visitors Choice Award.



-Bright Young Things, joint show at Cosa London 2007.


Ruby is a Masters scholar in Film studies at the Trinity College, Dublin. 

Ruby and Vanessa’s stay saw us purchase a marimba set that will go a long way in making our Centre more attractive to the children. This marimba set will be used by our children to create music as well as announce to the local and international community that somewhere in the remote area of Rietpan farm there is a nice place called Dramatic Need where children play and learn. The marimba set has since been delivered and now awaits a volunteer from Johannesburg to come and teach our children how to play and help us form a Dramatic Need Marimba Band.


Between the 7th and the 11th of July, being the Mandela month we took our children through a journey of self discovery using  Mandela’s life story. Dubbed ‘The Mandela in Me project' the children watched the movie, Long Walk to Freedom, a movie that tells the Mandela story from the time he joined the liberation struggle through his making and becoming the icon that he became. Invictus came in as a sequel that takes the story from where Long Walk to Freedom left and tells the story of Mandela’s sterling job as the president of South Africa. In our process the children watched and reflected on their participation. The most important thing that came out of the reflections was the observation by our learners that Mandela was an ordinary person who did extraordinary things. They felt that he was not born a hero but became a hero when his environment challenged him and required of him to put away his career path ambitions and literally give his life for the liberation of his people. 

On Mandela day, which is on the 18th of July our ‘The Mandela in Me’ journey ended in style with the children and staff of Dramatic Need going to the Viljoenskroon Hospice to read stories to the children housed there. Taking part in the 67 Minutes of doing good on Mandela day pleased our souls.

A renowned Rustenburg Dancer and youth motivational speaker Thapelo Pedi came to Dramatic Need on the 21st of July and had a short motivational and dance session with our children. She liked the place and is in the process of drawing up a full dance process for the month of September.


7/20/2014 (11:00am)

Mandela Movies

We spent the past two weeks watching movies about

Mandela as part of our ‘The Mandela in Me’ project where our children sought to see the good values that Mandela exuded in themselves. We watched Long Walk to Freedom which portrays Mandela as first an ordinary man who strove to become something in his society ending up taking up a serious life calling. That became a huge moment of learning for our children as they realised that Mandela was not born a hero but became one in response to the challenges of his contemporary society. so after all anyone can become what Mandela became and anyone can do the works that Mandela did. 

The next movie, Invictus portrays him as an innovative leader who turned a simple rugby game into a community building process and got the people of South Africa hugging each other as they found something they could identify with collective. The achievements of this sport process got the children asking what went wrong and who threw away the relay button stick as it seems now that there is so much still to do in their lovely country

Dramatic Need 67 Minutes in Pictures

7/18/2014 (2:32pm)

Dramatic Need Children Go 67 Minutes

Today the children of dramatic Need and their teachers joined the world in commemorating the birth, life and service of the late South African iconic leader  Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who died a citizen of the world,  by going to the Viljoenskroon Hospice to read stories and play with the children housed there.

Nelson Mandela’s birthday is on 18 July, and the call is out for people everywhere to celebrate his birthday by acting on the idea that each person has the power to change the world.

The idea of Mandela Day was inspired by Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 when he said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”

The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, recognising Mandela’s “values and his dedication to the service of humanity” and acknowledging his contribution “to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world”. more: http://www.southafrica.info/mandela/67minutes.htm#.U8kccYCSyjI#ixzz37pE2avfP

Dramatic Need strives to inculcate a culture of self knowledge and healthy community interactions amongst each children and today’s outreach programme is an example of putting into practice what we teach and cultivate. Our children took up the challenge with zeal and enjoyed playing with these disadvantaged children who needed their company.

7/17/2014 (6:06pm)

In November 2013, Dramatic Need and the Victoria Miro gallery hosted a unique exhibition of new works by some of the leading lights in British art.

Inspired by the stories of children Dramatic Need works with in sub-saharan Africa, contributing artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Jakes & Dinos Chapman and Rachel Whiteread (among many more) donated original pieces for auction.

A gallery of some of the art on display, along with further information on the event and charity all proceeds will benefit, are available at the Dramatic Need website.

#anish kapoor#antony gormley#rachel whiteread#chapman brothers#jillian edelstein#whitney mcveigh#harland miller#patrick jacobs#adeleine de monseignat#stuart semple#tom gallant#mario macilau#tom price#victoria miro

Dramatic Need UK staff have spent the past two weeks at the Dramatic Need Community Arts Centre in Free State, South Africa. Pictures and musings to follow soon!

The Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991and honours those children who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day. About ten thousand black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young students were shot. More than a hundred people were killed in the protests of the following two weeks, and more than a thousand were injured.

Espoir School celebrated the memory of those children with a ceremony at which the rapper Lil G performed. Part way through the event, a group of adults and school children visited the local genocide memorial.

Everywhere you go, there are reminders of the genocide and being the 20th anniversary, there are commemorations every weekend. There are still signs of hostility between races, which makes you realise that any way in which Dramatic Need can contribute to the reconciliation process can only be a good thing. Xaverine is vice-president of the National Council for Reconciliation and I was surprised to find out that 20 years later, there is still a need for the many reconciliation meetings she attends. However the genocide had been planned since 1957 so there are long-standing feelings to deal with.

There are memorials throughout Rwanda and this one is at Rwamagana where 700 people are buried at the site of a massacre. Every year, a ceremony is organised for the widows of the genocide here.

6/26/2014 (5:21pm)

I visited Rwanda in May to begin the registration of Dramatic Need as an INGO and to add to the network of schools the charity intends to work with there. The day after I arrived, I went to Espoir school where on a Friday the children have sports and learn traditional dances. The head teacher Xaverine was welcoming and warm and I soon got to know her family quite well, although it took weeks for me to recognise her son, Kelly who was a student at Espoir. He was in the dances that day, a few weeks later and whenever I visited the school but I still didn’t know who he was. In fact it soon became a standing joke that I couldn’t even recognise him in his own home. The two young girls at the front to the left take the lead in the school dance exhibitions.

#volunteer#education#therapy#rwanda#community empowerment#youth#submission