It all began with, the Market’s irrepressible, lighting wizard and manager extraordinaire Mannie Manim, and his co-founder Barney Simon – the radical Writer and Director whose gruelling workshops yielded the Market’s seminal productions. In 1974, Manim had a lighting job at PACT, and Simon was freelance. The two began their revolt in the belly of the beast, staging illegal multi-racial shows at small white theatres. This wasn’t viable so they had to break out, and the defunct Indian Fruit and Vegetable Market was their escape hatch. Backed by private donors, the duo were clueless about a bylaw that would offer a loophole in the ban on mixed casts and audiences. Following a revelation by a sympathetic police officer, that because the building had been a multiracial workplace for practical reasons, it could remain so. And thus 40 years on, at the same time as the start of the 1976 Soweto uprising, The Market Theatre was born.
Signature Africa Network went down memory lane with the current Creative Director at the theatre James Ngcobo, as well as one of the patrons who assisted in keeping the theatre alive during trying times, political prisoner turned businessman Gaby Magomola author of : Robben Island to Wall Street.