Petro Janse Van Vuuren

Dr. Petro Janse van Vuuren is an Applied Theatre learning strategist and researcher. Through her work she strives to inspire and equip those who inspire and equip others.

Petro is the director of Playing Mantis People Development Consultants (Pty) Ltd. –  a consulting business in organizational Development where she uses Applied Theatre as vehicle for personal, leadership, organisation and transformation development. She also  researches the effectiveness of strategic narrative embodiment models for designing social change interventions in organizational settings. She is appointed as Applied Theatre lecturer, PhD research coordinator and Postgraduate research Supervisor at Drama for Life, Wits University..

Petro received her PhD in Drama and Performance at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2008. In her thesis she developed a strategy for using improvised drama as a means for reflecting on personal and communal values. She continued her research as Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Stellenbosch exploring the dissemination and implementation of process (2008-2009). Petro has two Honours degrees, one in Drama (also from UKZN) and one in Philosophy, with an emphasis on Applied Ethics, from the University of Stellenbosch. She received her BA Degree in Theology at Stellenbosch University. All of her degrees were completed Cum Laude. Apart from a number of conference papaers and published articles, Petro has also released a book Grow Your Voice to Speak with Confidence.

Petro has worked with companies like Sanlam Investments, SAB Miller, ABSA, Spier Wine Farm, Momentum, Old Mutual, The Shanduka Group, ESCOM and many more.



  • Doctor of Philosophy, 2007 – University of KwaZulu-Natal. Thesis title: Mirror, mirror on the Wall – dramatic characterization as a means for reflecting on personal values
  • BA Hons Drama Studies (Cum Laude), 2001 – University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  • BA Hons Philosophy (Cum Laude), 1996 – Stellenbosch University
  • BA Theological Studies (Cum Laude), 1994 – Stellenbosch University


  • Certificate in Executive Coaching , 2014 – Gordon Institute of Business Science.
  • International Coach Federation accredited.
  • Diploma Biblical Counseling and Education (Cum Laude), 1999 – Association for Biblical Counseling and Education
  • Licentiate in Drama Art, 1994 Academy of Drama Art.



  • Janse van Vuuren, P. (Pending publication) ‘Belonging in each other’s company: a Strategic Narrative Embodiment design for community encounters in Sophiatown and beyond.’ Edited by Barnes, Hazel.  Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Cambridge.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. Keeping promises: A Strategic Narrative Embodiment model for designing social change interventions. Drama Research . 7(1).
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘The Keep Them Safe 2010 Project – Using Story to Structure a Programme with Sustainable Impact for 7 000 Children.’ Matatu Journal for African Culture and Society. No. 44, Arts Activism, Education, and Therapies: Transforming Communities Across Africa. Edited by Barnes, Hazel. Rodopi: Amsterdam.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘Between Blue Beard And my Brothers – Report on the African Research Confirence in applied Drama and Theatre.’ South African Theatre Journal, Volume 23: 2009, 222-234.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘The Hero’s Thesis, the Researcher’s Quest – Exploring the kinds of knowledge gained from process drama workshops.’ South African Theatre Journal, Volume 21: 221-240.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘Meeting the Mentor: The role of the teacher-director in engineering a Hero’s Journey for participants in an Educational Drama workshop series.’ Research in Drama Education 9(2) 211-227:.

Self Published work

  • Janse van Vuuren, P. The Confident Speaker’s ABC pocket Book. Stellenbosch: Playing Mantis.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. Grow Your voice to Speak with Confidence – a Six weeks training course with exercises on CD. Stellenbosch: Playing Mantis

Conference outputs


Three of the peer reviewed articles mentioned above were papers delivered at conferences as follows:

  • Janse van Vuuren, P. Drama For Life Africa Research  Conference.  The Keep Them Safe 2010 Project – using story to structure a programme with sustainable impact for 7 000 children
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. Dramatic Learning Spaces Conference. Meeting the Mentor: The role of the teacher-director in engineering a Hero’s Journey for participants in an Educational Drama workshop series
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. Dramatic Learning Spaces Conference. The Hero’s Thesis, the Researcher’s Quest – Exploring the kinds of knowledge gained from process drama workshops

Unpublished peer reviewed conference papers

  • Janse van Vuuren, P. and Bester, E. 2016. ‘Applied Theatre and Knowledge Management: The role of StrategicNarrative Embodiment in shifting a professional group from potential community to coalescence– a case study of the Knowledge Management network in Southern Africa.’ Exploring the African continent through the Arts UNISA Pretoria
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. . 2016. ‘Our #KM story – using strategic narrative embodiment (SNE) to see where we are and where we are going.’ Southern African Knowledge Management Summit .
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. and Bhebhe, S. 2015 ‘The Stories we share and the hero’s we create.’ Doing Human Conference, Wits Centre for Diversity Studies, Johannesburg.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘A Recipe for Educational Drama.’Dramatic Learning Spaces Conference. Pietermaritzburg.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘Boal’s ‘spect-actor’: The distance between self-as-object and self-as-subject.’ Post Graduate Research Conference. Durban.

Other conference presentations

  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘Creative collaboration to generate innovative marketing and business solutions.’ Chief Marketing Officer’s Conference. Johannesburg.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘Organisational culture that thrive in the VUCA (volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world.’High Performance Organisational Culture Seminar. Johannesburg.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. ‘A Brain New World: Exploring Neuroscience through Applied Improvisation.’ Flourish! Organisation Development Conference. Pretoria.
  • Janse van Vuuren, P. and Kirsten, B. ‘The Improvising Organisation – How Applied Improvisation can help organisations adapt, collaborate, innovate and integrate so that they can do more with less.’ Flourish! Organisation Development Conference. Pretoria.

Work Experience

2009-2015. Learning process designer and facilitator with Playing Mantis People Development Consultants (Pty) Ltd.

2008-2009. Post Doctoral Research Fellow Stellenbosch University

2003 to 2007. Part-time and Replacement Lecturer (including Hons candidate supervisor), University of KwaZulu-Natal.

2001 to 2004. Facilitator of numerous Educational Drama workshops both as part of hert own research and in her capacity as graduate assistant in Drama Studies From. Including:

2004. Participatory Action Researcher for the “Upward Bound Programme 2004” a community programme for high school students from previously disadvantaged communities on life at University and the obstacles they may face. It was run at Westville Campus of UKZN from 2 – 11 July.

2002/2003. Co-facilitator in service learning through drama at Emzamweni High School, Edendale. The project included Educational Drama workshops with learners taught by Honours and Masters Students and teacher training workshops with staff.

1999 and 2000. Researcher in a self funded and self directed study with different groups of children on using drama as a vehicle for bringing about personal growth and healing for young people. This study was overseen by THE INSTITUTE FOR MENTORING in Ferndale JHB.

1997. Co-founder of an Art and Drama School in Robertson in the Western Cape. 1995 to 2000. Extra-curricular drama teacher.

Theatre Work

Co-directed SPEAKING SPACES with Juanita Balkison and 7 High School learners from different schools in and around Pietermaritzburg. The production was taken to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Used the methodology developed in Doctoral thesis to workshop with the cast members and the co-director created a script based on the work.

Co-directed with GPB Janse van Vuuren who devised a play, WE CAN’T SEEM TO KEEP THE DISHES CLEAN, with 8 second and third level students for their production module, Drama 230/330. It was performed from 24 to 26 March in the Studio

Directed a 45 minute one woman show, CUSTARD FAMILIES, written and performed by A. Bydawell as part of her Masters Degree. It showed from 15-17 September at The Dive, Hexagon Theatre Complex.

Co-directed with GPB Janse van Vuuren an Educational Theatre production called TIT’BITS OF HAM, an exploration of the themes of Hamlet for Matric pupils, performed by 6 students of the Drama 230/330 Production Module in the Studio Theatre, Hexagon Complex 22-23 April and at Russel High, Linpark High School and Epworth Girls High School the previous week.

Wrote and co-directed with GPB Janse van Vuuren PATONISING: a Collage from the work of Alan Paton, performed in celebration of Alan Paton’s centenary year in collaboration with the Alan Paton Centre. It was performed by 9 students from first year to Masters level in The Dive, Hexagon Complex on October 10 and 11.

2001-2002. Co-directed with H.S. Barnes the UKZN entry into the Grahamstown National Arts Festival called LOOK OUT, written by Greig Coetzee. It was performed in Grahamstown at the student festival and on 27 June 2002 in the Studio Theatre, Hexagon Complex. Petro was also one of the original actors that worked with Greig Coetzee in devising the script in 2001.

2001-2003. Performed in and directed many productions of which only the most significant are highlighted here.

  • Performed in Educational Drama works on Macbeth and Hamlet which showed at various schools in Pietermaritzburg.
  • Performed main roles in the following plays: Our Country’s Good, directed by Hazel Barnes, The House of Bernarda Alba, directed by Tamantha Hammerschlach and Godspell, directed by Peter Mitchell and Cloud Nine directed by Paul Datlen.

1999 – 2000 Wrote a one woman show called Via Dolores which eas performed at various small theatres in Gauteng during amongst which was Die Teater Huisie in Pretoria and Jargonelle’s in Johannesburg.

1995. Performing as cast member of 13th Floor (then C-Sharp), a local performing arts training programme with an evangelical message.



2014-2015. Faculty member at Worldsview Academy for Organisation Development.

Faculty member of First National Bank’s Aldhemy Facultu for Leadership Development.

2014-2015. External Masters Supervisor and Examinor in Theatre and Performance Studies University of Pretoria.

2013-2014. Exterbal Examiner for Applied Drama at Draa For Lofe, WITS University.

2013-2014. President of the Gauteng Chapter of the PSASA (Professional Speaker’s Association Southern Africa)

2012-2013. Peer Reviewer for the South African Theatre Journal.
2012-2014. Member of the GSF (Global Speaker’s Federation).

2012 and 2014. Member of the SAODN (South African Organisational Development Network).

  1. Chairperson of the youth branch of KONONIA SOUTH AFRICA an intercultural organisation that worked for cultural equality and the fostering of intercultural relationships.



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