With the support of the Barney Simon Trust, the Market Theatre Laboratory offers one residency a year to provide a space for theatre-makers to develop a new work, investigate artistic process, and take creative risks. The intention of this project, which provides a theatre-maker every year with funding; space; support and resources to develop a concept, is to support the development of new work, investigate artistic process, and take creative risks.

We are proud to announce Buhle Ngaba as the recipient for this 2024 residency. Ngaba will be exploring her latest concept, “Phatsima”, the world’s most famous and contested diamond – the Cullinan diamond II which was excavated from Kimberley in 1897 and given to the royal family.

Ngaba’s creative exploration will take on the shape of a practice-led research project that will culminate into a script and other digital outputs. Ngaba’s project will probe the past, with an intention to imagine alternative histories and alternative futures beyond our reality.

Ngaba is a multi-award winning South African actor, writer and speaker. Her research and performance interests include developing new thought processes around the role of storytelling and creativity in unearthing and amplifying African women’s voices from the archive; to inspire new narratives and push the boundaries of performance.

Ngaba studied Acting and Contemporary performance at Rhodes University and Processes of Performance at the University of Leeds (UK). She performed in the world premiere of John Kani’s play Missing at the Baxter Theatre (SA) and went on to tour internationally with the production earning her nominations for the “Best Supporting Actress” for the South African Fleur Du Cap Theatre Awards as well as the Naledi Theatre Awards.

As a published author (The Girl Without A Sound, The New Girl Code) , Ngaba seeks to promote diversity in children’s literature and to develop the legacy of storytelling amongst the youth. The Girl Without A Sound and Swan Song were both written and produced by her company Maru Factory(Pty)Ltd. Maru Factory was formed to give expression to Ngaba’s dream of being a renowned global producer of entertainment content .

In 2022 Ngaba completed a Prohelvetia Swiss studio residency in Basel culminating in the first iteration of her latest play (to premiere in 2024). As a digital curatorial artist in residence at the Centre for Humanities Research (UWC) she recently completed writing the puppetry theatre production on the life and times of Charlotte Maxeke – the first black woman to graduate with a university degree in South Africa with a B.sC from Wilberforce University Ohio in 1903. She most recently curated the Triggers from the Future; 76’ – Present exhibition in collaboration with Babalwa Solwandle (UWC, Mayibuye Archives) and Robben Island Mayibuye Archives (Cape Town, South Africa).

The Market Theatre Laboratory looks forward to engaging with Buhle in our theatre, studios and in our learning spaces too as she will share her creative process with the Laboratory students. The Market Theatre Laboratory will welcome Buhle from the 15 January 2024. Ngaba will present her creative outputs in early March 2024.