Background of the organisation

Mpumalanga Performing Arts Laboratory (MPAL) is a provincial non-profit NGO. It was founded in 1997 with the aim to develop and promote the performing arts through training and showcasing in Mpumalanga Province.  Our mission is to uplift community-based performing artists by providing them with services necessary for them to improve their skills and access professional opportunities.

MPAL started, when the Market Theatre Laboratory based in Johannesburg received funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) for the extension of the Market Theatre Laboratory’s Fieldwork Training Programme towards Mpumalanga Province.

Fieldworkers were sent to work with groups from Mpumalanga villages and prepare their shows for the Community Theatre Festival in Johannesburg. The play Wangesheya Wangesheya from Kanyamazane was selected as one of ten groups to participate in the community theatre festival Zwakala. After the festival the play had a seasonal run at the Barney Simon Theatre in the Market Theatre.

Today MPAL is implementing projects such as community fieldwork outreach project, drama classes, showcases, and a low budget annual community theatre festival.

Capacity of the organisation

The MPAL brings arts administration experience to communities and provides informal arts education and awareness especially to young people. 

The MPAL is a well positioned and capacitated organization with solid experience and specialist knowledge of planning and implementing artistic social projects at community level.  We are shaping professionals in the performing arts field. This includes but is not limited to theatre/drama, storytelling, poetry, and dance. Some former participants are now employed by the national theatrical showbiz.  We use one of the most effective ways of conveying information and creating awareness on social and developmental issues whilst at the same time entertaining the target audience.

Our work is enhanced by our collaborative partnerships with professional theatre/drama and other institutions such as the Market Theatre Laboratory in Johannesburg, the Desmond Tutu Centre for Leadership C4L,the Sati Initiative, Mpumalanga Civil Society Forum and many more.

For further information on the Market Theatre Laboratory, see the following link www.markettheatre.co.za/laboratory/main/html

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