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​Multi-award-winning theatre director, Ntshieng Mokgoro, has launched the Olive Tree Production Company, an arts concern for women, by women and about women.

FEMALE theatre practitioners and budding thespians in Alexandra can now hone their skills in theatre and receive public exposure, following the launch of a theatre production company dedicated to the plight of women in the arts and emancipating women in theatre.

This is for KeepsThis is for Keeps is just one of the theatre productions performed at the launchOlive Tree theatre productions, the brainchild of theatre director, playwright, producer and theatre activist Ntshieng Mokgoro, launched amid much pomp in that township on Saturday, 31 March at Thusong Youth Centre on 12th avenue.

The launch day was characterised by live music, theatre and poetry performances. Music featured a melange of eccentric melodies and genres performed by local jazz band, the Flaming Souls, and other budding artists from the community.

Local thespians, playwrights, film producers, dancers, musicians, nascent artists and community members thronged Thusong to witness the launch. Attendees comprised a combination of aspiring and emerging arts practitioners, journalists and photographers, with the occasional starlet and industry professional.

Mokgoro said the course that had travelled from the inception of her idea of a theatre production company in Alex to the launch day had been tumultuous, but she remained resilient. “I see potential in this idea,” she said.

“There is lack of support for women in theatre, especially black women”. She said women often encountered problems with accessing platforms in theatre and well established institutions like the Market theatre were competitive.

Running a theatre production company in Alexandra will bridge the gap, helping to bring the previously marginalised to the mainstream. She said women had the potential to bring life to theatre and should be afforded the opportunity.

“I thought as a women theatre practitioner, there should be a change and I am fostering that change. Not boasting about it, but I have worked my way up from community theatre, and never attended any formal training institution. I am proud to be where I am today,” Mokgoro said.

Female actors will get a chance to hone their acting skillsFemale actors will get a chance to hone their acting skillsShe said she has always wanted to run her own theatre production company that would avail opportunities to women and contribute towards their emancipation. “I did not just want to launch a community theatre group or an NGO; I wanted to launch a brand that would last long, a brand that would succeed me,” she said.

Mokgoro is regarded by as a theatre doyenne by her peers. She has won several awards, including a Standard Bank Young Artist Award and the Graham Lindop Theatre Award for the best young director. She was named as one of the 300 most influential young people in South Africa by the Mail and Guardian weekly newspaper.

She has written and directed theatre productions like Thursday’s Child, Umdlwembe, which won the Standard Bank Best Youth Production. and Veil of Tears, This is for keeps and Loyile Lamabala.

Her production company, Olive Tree, seeks to promote mainly women in theatre and create theatre, film, debates, forums and events that challenge social injustices and promote human rights, she said.

“We are a conduit of discussions and discourse, a platform that will engage with different avenues to grow confidence and bring new stories to the stage.”

Olive Tree Theatre Productions can be accessed through the Thusong Youth Centre on 12th Avenue in Alexandra. For more information telephone Ntshieng Mokgoro on 073 591 9567 or 011 079 4153, email or


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