Stage set to highlight human trafficking, modern day slavery

HARSH REALITY: From left, Colleen Whitfield, Mamkhabela Mthembu and Farah Narkedien Fleitas are the three lead characters in the play ‘Hold for Release’, which deals with human trafficking and modern day slavery and is on at the Arts Theatre until May 20 Pictures: CLYNTON MOORCROFT
HARSH REALITY: From left, Colleen Whitfield, Mamkhabela Mthembu and Farah Narkedien Fleitas are the three lead characters in the play ‘Hold for Release’, which deals with human trafficking and modern day slavery and is on at the Arts Theatre until May 20 Pictures: CLYNTON MOORCROFT
Local playwright Jen Bryson Moorcroft is set to stage the first of her hard-hitting social justice plays, Hold for Release, at the Arts Theatre this weekend.

The play deals with the issues of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, using comedic relief to draw in audience members and expose the issues in a poignant manner.

“I was inspired to write this play after I learned about the prominence of human trafficking in East London.

“I have friends who work with victims through various NGOs and I couldn’t believe the stories they told me,” said Moorcroft, who is also directing the play.

Joining forces with the non-profit organisation Cornerstone, Moorcroft will use her play as a means to raise funds for the NPO’s work against human trafficking, while also aiming to spark a conversation within the community.

Moorcroft, who is well known for her musical theatre plays, hopes to set a trend for the theatre scene in East London, using the production to represent the launch of the #artistsagainstslavery movement.

Ranging between the ages of 15 and 40, the cast is made up of 11 drama students, teachers and amateurs from around the city.

Bringing complex characters to life, this cast will take audience members through the lives of three young and ambitious women, exposing how their stories become intermingled with the horrors of human trafficking. Moorcroft said much of the play had a glamorous setting revolving around the fashion industry, but focused on how an ordinary person could become involved with modern day slavery.

“It seems like the furthest thing away from slavery or human trafficking, but it aims to address our complacency and ignorance towards those issues,” she said.

Aiming to continue writing social justice theatre, Moorcroft, who is completing her Masters degree in the subject at Rhodes University, hopes the play will be well-received.

Post-play discussions will take place after each performance, offering audience members the opportunity to share their thoughts on the issue. Cast members and experts such as lawyers, social workers and NPO members will make up the discussion panel.

The show runs until Sunday night, with the first performance tonight at 6.30pm at the Arts Theatre.

Tickets for tonight and Friday are sold out, with limited tickets available for Saturday and Sunday night.

Please sign in or register to comment.

X