We know the young children we work with love to sing, dance and share stories. As adults we also know the value of creativity and play in a child’s development. SaamSpeel (‘Playing together’) is a project that aims to offer a creative space for families to enjoy being together. There is a different theme every month, and we use drama, movement, dance, music and art. Most importantly, while we play together, we are nurturing relationships, building the child’s self-esteem and developing emotional intelligence.

Thank you to Jessika Jones from Overmaatjies Créche for helping to facilitate this project and to Cape Wine Auction for funding it.


Time to Thrive

Time To Thrive is a youth leadership program that combines art therapy with coaching, utilizing a combination of visual arts, directive art therapy, drama, play and movement, coaching tools and written reflections, breathwork and mindfulness. It is a unique and exciting approach, engaging youth through creative learning. The main goals are to keep kids in school, and to teach life skills and soft skills, uplifting individuals by building EQ. The main outcomes are resilience and confidence, as well as a motivation to learn, grow and achieve, to aim high and work to create new futures for themselves. The central theme is that education is key, their key for empowerment. The intention is to equip learners with leadership skills that can have potential far-reaching consequences.

We want learners to strive to Thrive; it’s time, Time to Thrive.

Monteith Farm

In November this year, the sp(i)eel team was invited to host an end-of-year event for the staff at Monteith Farm. Our brief was to offer an interactive, creative space that would facilitate the staff team to look back on the past year and connect with each other in reflection and celebration of the story of Monteith in 2018. It was a touching afternoon and we are particularly impressed with the fact that the whole of the staff team, from pickers to managers to owners of the farm turned up and engaged in the event. When communities come together in this way, they emerge stronger and more resilient to face work and life challenges ahead. Here is a glimpse of what happened...

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The Liberator

We are thrilled to announce the continued support from the Wine Cellar; this time in the form of wine.

The brand is Liberator, created by a UK Master of Wine with South African roots, Richard Kelley. 

The idea is that these wines essentially don’t have good homes and Richard liberates from the industry. They can then also be used to liberate the beneficiaries of sp(i)eel at the same time, through a product of the winelands.

The Wine Cellar will be offering a portion of the proceeds to sp(i)eel as a collaboration.

Bottles can be bought online from this link.

The wine is delicious and it goes towards a meaningful cause. Spread the word and treat yourself and sp(i)eel!

Thanks again to Wine Cellar!


Indigo Heritage Tour Applied Theatre Workshops 2017

Over a two day period, three drama practitioners ran a series of workshops with High School Learners from Loriesfontein, Protea and Hantam High School.

We collaborated with Indigo Development and Change to facilitate a creative process where learners would share aspects of their personal heritage, as well as exploring collective heritage in South Africa. The workshops culminated in a showcase on the second evening.

The process definitely gave participants an opportunity to connect, learn about each other from each other and have fun together.


Goedgedacht Path out of Poverty Applied Theatre Project 2016

In collaboration with Goedgedacht’s Path out of Poverty (POP) project, sp(i)eel practitioners delivered a series of applied theatre sessions for youth on the farm that culminated in a showcase in December 2016. The main goal was the development of Self and a general sense of wellbeing for youth who are affected by social issues of poverty and lack of resources and willpower to engage in their futures.

The biggest indicator of change in this project was the participants’ increasing commitment to attending the drama group and rehearsals. Whereas in the past there was a struggle to motivate the group to attend regularly, this was no longer the case in the last few months. The ability to take ownership of a process and stay committed, is indicative of a developed sense of Self and Self worth. This also translated to other areas where an increase in school attendance and other POP activities was observed. Also significantly, the project was able to address the initial gender imbalance and bring in a larger number of girls to partake as well. 


Overmaatjies Creche Applied Drama Project

A Drama Therapist and Applied Theatre Practcioners facilitate weekly sessions with a class of children, aged 3-5. The main focus is to build and develop resilience, which includes developing a sense of Self, emotional expression and positive relationships. Research has shown that early interventions that focus on resiliency offers children a better chance at completing their schooling careers and leading healthy, happy lives. Through games, storytelling and play, the group focused on themes such as identity, self-esteem, feelings, safe spaces, friendships and helpful people.


Vlottenburg Primary Applied Theatre Project 2017

This is an ongoing project that is currently facilitated by a qualified applied theatre practitioner. In collaboration with the head and teachers, a number of learners are identified from various grades to partake in a 6-9 week project. The main focus of these projects are to develop resiliency in younger learners that will better equip them to manage other areas of their school and personal lives. Issues such as self-esteem, bullying and identity are addressed and explored through the medium of drama.

Added to this is also the broader focus of establishing familiarity and love for artistic activities and practices within the community of Vlottenburg. 

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This is a short video clip from one of sp(i)eel's ongoing project that is currently facilitated by a qualified applied theatre practitioner.


Introducing another of sp(i)eel's partners...

OntdEK is an applied drama programme hosted by s­p(i)eel, using creative, interactive and engaging workshop methods to develop a variety of soft skills that support positive habits and lay the foundation for a fulfilling and autonomous future. It is a  comprehensive workshop series that includes follow-up activities, reading materials and creative journaling prompts. Each participant leaves the programme with a simple, practical and personally relevant plan for a future endeavour.

OntdEK is a highly flexible programme designed to adapt to the specific needs and available resources of each unique community and project. The full programme can be rolled out in as little as 2 weeks or over 8months. For more information on rollout options and costing please contact Uné Conradie: 072 424 7812/

Uné's role in sp(i)eel:

I am an applied drama practitioner,  responsible for the development and role out of the OndEK programme. 

I am also a Creative M&E consultant, responsible for the development and role out of a  Creative M&E system. A Creative M&E approach support organizations in the social development sector to effectively communicate the impact of their programmes by including the voices and lived experience of the programme beneficiaries in a mini documentary that ultimately serve both stakeholders and beneficiaries. 

A personal development program hosted by sp(i)eel and the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch.

GroundSpring PlayBackTheatre Co.

Introducing one of sp(i)eel's partners...

GroundSpring Theatre is an improvisatory theatre show, where audience members’ real life stories provide the material for the actors to instantly transform into a theatrical event

South African stories are a powerful resource. They bring people together to create a healing dialogue, allowing us to deeply experience our common humanity. This is GroundSpring’s commitment: to challenge familiar perspectives through our storytelling work, so that future possibilities can be imagined, and personal and social narratives can start to transform.

Our aims are to:

•     Offer a platform for dialogue in a variety of contexts.

•     Create a space that supports community building through the sharing of a resource that is common to all of us: our stories.

•     Create a space for the honouring of memories through sharing them with one’s community.

•     Celebrate the storyteller in each of us.

What happens during a show?

During a GroundSpring show, participants are invited to tell true stories from their lives.  These stories may be simple or life- defining, celebratory or painful.  The community or organization will be supported in defining the theme most relevant to be explored within a show. A series of warm-up exercises involves the audience and prepares them to tell stories from their lives. The telling of these stories is facilitated by an experienced conductor, who supports the storyteller to tell the story that both reflects their truth and contributes to the theme of the session.

Professional actors and a musician then play the stories back through improvisation. The stories are performed using a range of theatrical techniques. This dynamic visual experience has a powerful effect on its audience towards developing understanding and mutual respect. The interactive, improvised show is one hour long.

For organisations and corporates, we offer team building, bringing vision and values to life, and support with organizational transitions, diversity and conflict management.

Who are we?

Many South Africans will know of the foundation of our work as the Bonfire Theatre Project, which was established in October 2005.

The project was co-founded by Drama Therapists Paula Kingwill, (who directed the company for 5 years), Heather Schiff (who directed the company for 8 years), Lesley Palmer (the current director) and Music Therapist Chris Wildman. The company is a diverse group of performers including drama therapists, musicians and actors.

Our work is based on the Playback Theatre Model and incorporates aspects of Systemic Constellations, Psychodrama, Theatre of the Oppressed, traditional storytelling and Drama Therapy.

Are you ready to see your story? Feel free to mail us with any questions.

E: T: 082 828 5917

Facebook: GroundSpring Playback Theatre Co. @groundspringtheatreco


The Ground Spring Team

The Ground Spring Team

Nederburg Charity Auction

We are beyond thrilled for this investment in our organization. Thank you to the Nederburg Charity Auction and Roland Peens from Wine Cellar for supporting our work. This is contributing towards our comprehensive arts therapies programme for communities in the winelands. 

For more information click here.


From left to right: Amelda Brand, Marlize Swanepoel, Murdo Dreyer, Inger Truter, Simone Benjamin and Roland Peens.

From left to right: Amelda Brand, Marlize Swanepoel, Murdo Dreyer, Inger Truter, Simone Benjamin and Roland Peens.