Young theater maker thrives at Pronk Podium


When Robert Kruger lost his heart on the teenage scene as a high school student at the time, he never expected that as a 22-year-old he would not only be an award-winning author, but would rub shoulders with the very people who had inspired him years ago.

Robert’s busy writer’s pen and love for telling stories led to one acting prize after another at this year’s Pronk Podium theater festival, Aardklop’s acting competition for young theatre-makers.

The finals of this festival, which consisted of six plays, took place on 2 September at the AfriForum Theater in Pretoria. Three out of the six top productions appeared from Robert’s pen.

“The festival was an incredible experience. The children played their hearts out, everything felt so unreal,” Robert told RNews.

It was her too If the tin roofs could scream, an intimate story about a young girl who is raped in a small community, which emerged as the overall winner. This play, performed by Hoërskool Noordheuwel, also produced the best actor of the competition, 18-year-old Connor McGuill. He was with The Vow to see Rico Immelman (16) in the production.

Hoërskool Noordheuwel’s Iscariot and the Hoër Afrikaans Seunsskool’s In the underworld of dragons, both written by Robert, were also on the boards during the national finals of Pronk Podium.

Robert has his first play, The bridge to the stars, written in 2019 for his alma mater, Noordheuwel High School. He had just finished matric, and confesses that if it wasn’t for this school’s head of culture, Mariki de Villiers-Knop, he wouldn’t have been able to test the waters of the theater industry so easily.

Since then, Robert has dozens of winning productions for schools such as Hoërskool

Noordheuwel, Rodekrans Primary School, the Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool and

Bellville High School wrote.

“I didn’t even know that this was what I wanted to do. I did well with creative writing at school, but not so well now that I thought it would become my career.”

As a 14-year-old high school boy, he sat and watched a teenage theater production written by Pierre-André Viviers. This made the inspiration overflow, admits Robert, and today he is proud to be able to say that Pierre-André has become one of his greatest mentors.

“It’s amazing to think that the people I’ve looked up to all these years are now my mentors and advisors.”

He has always cherished a love for stories, says Robert, although during his school career he was just a child who raised his hand for almost everything.

However, watching and analyzing films and series was one of his hobbies.

“I always went to see who the director and writer of the movie was, how long they shot… I even analyzed the music.”

It is precisely in music, and in specific lyrics, from which most of Robert’s inspiration stems.

Robert also wrote this year’s winning productions for Pronk Digitaal and Pronk Pret, Aardklop’s two categories for digital and primary school drama. If the tin roofs could scream, which he also directed, will also soon be on stage at the FAK Allegretto Theater Festival at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. It is also one of the top eight productions that will appear at the final round of ATKV Teenertoneel.

This young, award-winning writer hopes to take up professional theater next.

“With children’s and teenage scenes, I am somewhat limited in terms of the themes I can address,” says Robert.

“I am already trying to broaden the boundaries with my plays, but I would also like to write a play for adult, professional actors.”

  • If the tin roofs could scream will be on display during this year’s Momentum Beleggings Aardklop in Potchefstroom.