New drama group needs help to stage their first production

Group members, from left: Tarah-Lee Maasdorp, Nikhita Valentine, Mariam Daggia, JP Maasdorp, Kaylene Bagus, Aden Terhoeven and Niyah Rhoda. Absent is Roshan Valentine and Lyndon Terhoeven.

A teenager and aspiring actor from Strand started his own drama group in his community and wants this new drama group to be a catalyst of social change by helping those in need and bring about a positive change to community mentality.

JP Maasdorp (15), a grade nine pupil at Gordon High School in Somerset West, decided to start the drama group called Colored Production with the main aim to create a platform on which his peers can express their acting talent and use it as an outlet for their creativity, but other reasons for the formation of the group includes using it as a motivator for other young people and children of his community.

“I recently went for an acting audition in Durbanville and when I heard nothing back from them, the idea came to me that I need to create my own oppportunities, not only for myself, but for the children from my area as well,” said JP who earlier this month, officially launched the drama group. This young, enthusiastic teenager has been acting since Grade 1 and recalls how he feel in love with the art during his former Eisteddfod performances.

“I chose the name Colored Production because I feel that the talents of the children from our coloured communities are never acknowledged or recognised and therefore, I feel our children so easily become involved in gangsterism. This saddens me and with everything happening in our coloured culture, I want to with this drama group, and our first performance show others that we can also use our talents to achieve our dreams and build a better life for ourselves,” he says.

He wants the drama group to contribute to making a difference in the community by helping the less fortunate. They had their first community outreach in the form of a food handout in Garden Village, Somerset-West on Saturday April 10. “I don’t want this group to just be another drama group, but one that helps people in need, even though we did not have the means to provide a lot of food for the people today, we used what we had,” he says.

Jolene Bagus, mom of group member, Kaylene Bagus (15) expressed her pride in the group’s activities. “I’m surprised by what the children can do on their own and it’s such a good thing as it keeps the children off the streets, away from negative elements,” Ms Bagus adds.

JP hopes the group will inspire others around them and will change community views and beliefs, especially targeting the view the mentality that there is a lack of opportunities for people of colour to showcase their talents. “I joined the group because I want to help the community and I want to make shows that will make our people laugh, cry and make them proud of us and what we can do,” says one of the new members, Lyndon Terhoeven (15) in answer to why he decided to sign up. Lyndon adds being part of the group makes him feel happy and excited about the future. The group has paid for the printing of their T-shirts and is expectantly waiting on its delivery as they can’t wait to be officially identifiable as Colored Productions.

So far the group consists of nine members and rehearse over weekends, in Strand at JP’s home. This keeps them busy as they are rehearsing an original play, written by JP. “I’ve always written my own plays and I’m especially excited about this one as it tells the story of my own pain and hardships of being bullied, but the message in the play centres around how to deal with the bullies in a non-violent way,” he says. “After being bullied, I know now bullies are most of the time children who themselves have been bullied before and now does the same to others, so the play is about this and showing there is a better way to deal with bullying,” he says.

The group is excitedly working on this production, but before they can make their characters come alive on stage, they need some community support. Their first production will be an Afrikaans play entitled, Dink jy dus jou ouma se kombuis, a play they hope will appeal to young people.

There are, however, a few financial challenges standing in the way of their dream to make their show a reality and they are appealing to anyone who can assist them with an available and very affordable venue or community hall to host their show as well as with any help or donation towards the production. The drama group is planning to host the show during this year in September or October and as soon as they can finalise a venue, they will be able to set a date and finalise other details such as admission fee and time slots. They are also appealing to companies which can assist them with aid towards their community food drives to make contact. Anyone who can assist or donate in any way to help them with the production can contact JP on 084 739 8184.