Peter and the Wolf: A show built from recycled materials

Peter and the Wolf at Pieter Toerien’s
Montecasino Theatre. Picture: Supplied

Peter and the Wolf at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre. Picture: Supplied

Children can enjoy the theatre and be taught a valuable lesson on the importance of recycling.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. The motto of any Miss Earth SA finalist past, present and future.

It sounds easy enough, take rubbish and reuse it, recycle it or reduce the amount of excess you create daily.

Outside of the green movement, humans often seem to only be able to recycle the same vitriolic political narratives and reduce sound judgment to near foolery.

But, if you’re part of the VR Theatrical team, recycling seems to be something you do to create an imaginative world for children.

This spring, VR Theatrical presents a new take on Peter and the Wolf at Pieter Toerien Studio Theatre when the irreverent boy, the grumpy grandpa, the lovable duck, the fat cat, the chirpy bird and the big “bad” Wolf visit the theatre space.

While the show will be presented with a unique South African flair, including local sounds and puppetry in a unique staging, at its core the production aims to educate, with the entire set created from recycled paper items (yes you can introduce kids to the theatre and give them a lesson on the importance of recycling).

“Recycling is a subject that needs to be brought into the consciousness of children. It is a habit they need to acquire when they are young, because our environment’s future depends on them. We hope that this production shows them creative ways to incorporate recycling into their daily lives,” says director Elizma Badenhorst.

It led set designer Francois van der Hoven to create a new world for the cast to explore.

“The set is super creative and innovative and it feels as though we are in the woods of an old fairy tale. The way it was crafted really works well with the feel of the show. I was amazed at seeing how a toilet roll can become a tree, I would never have thought of that,” says Angela Sparks, who stars in the production.

Peter and the Wolf at Pieter Toerien’s
Montecasino Theatre. Picture: Supplied

The recycled material has been shrewdly used with lighting, stage smoke and mirrors to create an interesting environment in the small theatre.

“The trees [made out of recycled toilet roll-inners and paper] provide a beautiful canvas for different coloured lights to be projected on them. They can change from blue to green to orange,” says Badenhorst.

According to executive producer Jaco van Rensburg, recycled items were collected from schools and other places, before getting a new life as a set.

“We also received recycled items from Splitbeam, our sound and lighting supplier, as well as Oakfields College, of which our three cast members are all alumni. We felt that by using material that in its past life was wood – and it again becomes our ‘woods’ – was symbolic and a full-circle moment.”

It was also a way to lessen VR Theatrical’s own carbon footprint.

“We’ve been been creating sets for our other productions over the past two years, which has taken its toll on the environment. We felt we could lessen our carbon footprint by creating a set that is entirely recycled.

“We realise that this is not always possible with other productions, but this specific production lends itself to this initiative and we hope we can do it more in the future,” said Van Rensburg.


Peter and the Wolf will run at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from September 20 to October 21 with 11am performances from Wednesdays to Fridays, 4pm and 7.30pm performances on Saturdays and a 3pm matinee on Sundays.

Tickets are available from R130 per person and are available at Computicket.

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