Lunchbox Theatre – teaching kindness to animals with IFAW’s help

Since 2008 Lunchbox Theatre has performed over 370 shows to more than 67,000 audience members.IFAW Southern Africa has introduced thousands of children to the concept of animal welfare through educational theatre. Through our support for Lunchbox Theatre, we took the message to a new region of South Africa. Stuart Palmer, Director of Lunchbox, tells us about their recent run of the IFAW play “A Dog’s Life”.

As an educational theatre company, we at Lunchbox Theatre believe very strongly in the power of interactive, entertaining and educational theatre interventions to raise awareness about a wide range of environmental issues.

Our target audience is the learner in the senior primary phase.We feel that they are young enough to hold onto the magic of storytelling and the sense of wonder as the imagination comes alive. And yet they are old enough to have begun to identify themselves in relation to the world around them and to feel their own individual impact on it.

Since 2008 Lunchbox Theatre has performed more than 370 shows to more than 67,000 audience members.

We are very proud of our track record but cannot simply stand alone as we celebrate our success. We share our success with the wonderful organisations that work tirelessly to make the change that our shows dramatize. And the International Fund for Animal for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is one such organisation.

In March with the kind support and funding from IFAW, we presented a two-day, five-show tour to a range of schools in George, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

Our journey began at Mzoxolo Primary, where 125 grade six learners watched in awe as the story of a young boy, John, and a stray dog, Wafi, unfolded.

John and Wafi meet on the street and are taken in by the corrupt Mr. Jacobs, who puts them to work as petty thieves.

Over time Wafi and John become quite ill and tired until they are sent to steal from an animal welfare gathering at the local community hall. Instead of taking money from the good people there, they learn basic animal care and the importance of sterilisation and vaccination. This starts their journey to health and happiness which becomes a strong lesson for Mr. Jacobs as he sees the reciprocal value of the love the boy and dog share and changes his ways.

More than 560 learners enjoyed the second show at Tyholoro Primary. Our third and final show for the first day was at St. Paul’s EK Primary, where we played to 185 grade 4-7 learners.

Day two started with a show at the rural farm school Lancewood where 42 grade 1-7s learned the five things that make a dog happy: food, water, shelter, exercise and love.

Our final show took place for more than 300 grade 4-7 learners at Holycross Primary in central George.

Teachers and children loved the show and saw the value of what we were teaching.

Here is some feedback from the audience:

“The storyline was on the level of the learners and they could identify with the content” – St Paul’s EK Primary.

“Learn to protect your dog and love them” – learner at Mzoxolo Primary.

“The theme of looking after animals in is very much a topic of relevance” – Holycross Primary.

“Very enjoyable!!! Very interesting!!!” – Tyholoro Primary.

--SP

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Experts

Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project