National Children’s Theater is a forty-five-year old knowledge, entertainment and education theatre company located in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is the foremost theatre in Gauteng province, shining the bright light of educational, engaging and award winning theatre for children and youth throughout South African cities and rural areas.
Yet NCT was a diamond in the rough, with the opportunity to leverage to a higher social role its year-round live theatre, 4.5-acre campus, with two indoor, one outdoor and a puppet theater, music and classrooms for a weekend workshop academy, and an audience of almost 100,000 per annum, one of the busiest children’s theatres in South Africa.
Ideon’s challenge was to transform NCT from a center of perennial and quotidian theatrical performances to a more relevant center of educational and developmental illumination for South African youth. Our goal was to raise above all other theatres giving it an unwavering purpose to transform young lives and grow societies’ next generation of leaders through a kaleidoscope of vivid and engaging performance arts, original and instructive musicals, and immersive after-school programs.
Following a strategic review of the category, brand and opportunity, we shifted NCT from the perception of a tired and dated “What” brand focused on a catalog of performing arts to a newly energized “Why” brand lighting up the lives of South African youth in best tradition of European theatres.
This led NCT to a new mantra of “magical fascination,” a compelling source of enlightenment and joy in a predominantly bleak educational and entertainment environment for the majority of South African youth.
We articulated this vision and direction in an electrifying brand design that reflects the delight in NCT’s production of the shows and the audience excitement and participation in the performances. We also reimagined communications for all audiences and designed banners, billboards, posters, signage and assets for each show, as well as on-campus wayfinding.
This pivot from a traditional playhouse of productions to a kaleidoscope of illumination has breathed new life and excitement into NCT. In the three performances since rebranding, NCT has received accolades and reviews as never before, with full capacity attendance. It’s becoming clearer to the public at large how much value and creativity this small organization delivers to so many.
We’re honored to partner with NCT in this important, socially impactful initiative.
Moira Katz, Chief Executive Officer of NCT is a fan, explaining "When I came on board, NCT was a small entity, not making full use of its potential to be a leader in educational children’s theatre in South Africa. In the years since, we succeeded in many areas, winning many awards for best children’s theatre productions of the year—but we still remained a company with a logo and a suitcase full of assets, but not a distinctive brand. It was really time to rethink and establish what we were about. And Ideon has managed this with great skill, tapping into research, strategy, design and brand activation to solidify the many areas we embrace. Our Chairman Erna Solomon and her Board of Trustees are justly proud of our dynamic rebranding.We are indeed grateful that Ideon spent much time and energy exploring our background and challenging our thoughts to establish our unique brand and inspire our leadership so that we can move forward to face the challenges of the times.”