Bed takes centre stage in original high school theatre script

Bedlam, which runs at Rustenburg Girls’ High School from Wednesday August 10 to Saturday August 13, is not just another school play.

The production is an example of workshop theatre which means that the performance is entirely original and was created specifically for the school’s dramatic arts department.

Adrian Skelly, director and head of dramatic arts at the school, said: “The proposal was for an unconventional theatre production in which the lead role would not be a character, or played by a performer, but an inanimate item of furniture.

“A massive metal four-poster bed was designed especially for Bedlam by Rob Hickson-Mahony, and is the only thing which remains visible on stage during the performance.

“The actors are all secondary to the bed.

“They come and go, change and evolve. The bed, by contrast, is fixed and permanent.”

The name “Bedlam” comes from the nickname given to the Bethlem Royal Hospital, the first institution to specialise in mental health.

Today, the term “bedlam” is still used to describe situations of chaos or madness.

It is this sense of disorder the actors, pupils from Rustenburg, Rondebosch Boys’ High School and SACS, hope to represent through the disconnected scenes of the production, linked only by their common location.

Mr Skelly said: “This show is created in thanks to our beds and in honour of the truths which our bedrooms have contained.”

Mr Skelly and assistant director Carey Hickson-Mahony have a well-established track record of success on the Rustenburg stage.

It is their sixth creative collaboration in recent years.

From original productions such as Who’s your Daddy? (2011), Bride’s Head, Revisited (2012) and HAIR-RAISING (2014), to re-workings of classic pieces such as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (2013) and Agatha Chritie’s A Murder is Announced (2015), they have a reputation for lavish productions that have drawn exquisite performances from their cast and connected with the audience.

Tickets are R75 each and available from the Rustenburg marketing office or online via

The office can be contacted on email at or via the school’s switchboard on 021 686 4066.