300 UJ students showcased in the premier of Let the Right One In

UJ Arts & Culture (a division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture) presents the development run of its latest interdisciplinary theatre project Let the Right One In from 25 – 26 October 2019, in the Arts Centre Theatre on the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway Campus.

Let the Right One In, an enchanting, brutal vampire myth and coming-of-age love story adapted from best-selling Swedish novel and award-winning film by John Ajvide Lindqvist, which was adapted for stage by Jack Thorne, will have its South African premiere at the University of Johannesburg this October. The production, presented with a hybrid cast of professionals and UJ students, is the culmination of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) and UJ Arts & Culture’s annual inter-disciplinary theatre project. This flagship challenges around 300 students to design various aspects of a play.

This horror vampire story centres around Oskar, a lonely boy from a broken home who is relentlessly bullied at school. He befriends Eli, the young girl who has just moved in next door, she doesn’t go to school and never leaves the flat by day. A series of mysterious killings plagues their neighbourhood, while these two young misfits, sensing in each other a kindred spirit, forge a deep connection. Shocking events unfold and tension mounts as their young friendship—and love is tested beyond all imaginable limits.

This is the first run of UJ Arts & Culture and FADA’s 2019/2020 inter-disciplinary project. Over the past three years the project has presented world-class productions that received critical acclaim including African Gothic (2017/18) and Metamorphosis (2018/19).

The staging of the play leverages the incredible talents of over 300 students and lecturers and is the culmination of a process that has seen students and lecturers from different departments in FADA become involved in various design and development aspects of the work. Second-year students from the departments of Visual Art, Interior, Industrial, Graphic, Fashion, Jewellery, Architecture and Multimedia collaborated with UJ Arts & Culture to create a benchmarking theatrical product by thinking across boundaries and individual discipline limitations.

Student groups were challenged to design the set, costumes and develop a marketing campaign, together with collateral for the play. In developing these unique skills, students learned how to work collaboratively, which is becoming increasingly important in an environment where more than specialised knowledge is demanded from professionals. Their engagement began with series of Theatre 101 presentations from experts in the field, laying the groundwork for the students to interrogate the unique design challenges inherent in the medium, and specifically those proposed by the creative team.

Under the creative direction of multiple award-winner Rob Murray, the production is innovative, unconventional and action-packed with the right amount of horror and care required for such a challenging piece.

Murray draws on the multiple talents of Dan Robbertse best known for his lead role as Hansie van Wyk in the 2002 TV drama Behind the Badge, stage and television actress Zesuliwe Hadebe, theatre practitioner and Market Theatre Laboratory alumnus Marcus Mabusela and Zulu traditional vocalist, songwriter, voice script writer, actor and dancer, Siphiwe Nkabinde.

Alongside the professional cast are the cream of the UJ Arts Academy drama students including Musa Mboweni, Anthony Picinich, Seakga Tladi, Lulama Dumba and Isaac Mehlape.

Rounding out the amazing creative team Executive Producer Pieter Jacobs, Producer Karabo Mtshali, Choreographer Daniel Buckland, Lighting Designer Benji Mills, Set Construction Nadine Minaar and

Costume maker Nthabiseng Makone.

For more information and to book your tickets, go to www.uj.ac.za/arts.


UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.