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At Your Doorstep – Market Theatre & Theater Bielefeld

The jury

At Your Doorstep/Vor Deiner Tür, crafted by the South African composer Matthew MacFarlane, Swiss composer Marc L. Vogler, and director/librettist Robert Lehmeier, is a deserving winner in the Music Theatre Now competition. Italian-Israeli soprano Mayan Goldenfeld brings to life the character of “She” in a narrative that connects love, politics, technology, and individual fates across continents. This chamber opera’s innovative use of interactive video technology allowed for a seamless simultaneous live performance, engaging audiences in Johannesburg and Bielefeld.

The story, which intertwines the lives of a brother and sister from Zimbabwe in Johannesburg’s Hillbrow and a mother and daughter in Germany, is a poignant commentary on modern connectivity and the stark inequalities that persist. The online relationship that blossoms between the characters symbolizes the potential for digital spaces to bridge cultural and geographical divides. Yet, it also confronts the realities of escaping the virtual „bubble.“

The opera’s simultaneous streaming at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and Theater Bielefeld in Germany, coupled with interactive Q&A sessions, underscores the project’s commitment to fostering intercontinental dialogue and cultural exchange. The jury applauds At Your Doorstep for its artistic innovation and for boldly questioning what it means to be connected in today’s world.

About At Your Doorstep

Love, politics, technology and individual destinies cross international boundaries in this innovative collaboration between Johannesburg and Bielefeld. Interactive video technology facilitated simultaneous live performances in both hemispheres.

The libretto integrates texts developed in workshops with young students from Windybrow Arts Centre Johannesburg and Muth/Musiktheater Jugendclub Bielefeld. At Your Doorstep tells the stories of four characters – a young brother and sister in Johannesburg ́s turbulent inner city Hillbrow, and a mother and daughter in Bielefeld, Germany. The brother and sister, refugees from Zimbabwe, have crossed many borders to arrive in Hillbrow; the young German woman struggles with crippling anxiety and with her overprotective mother ́s racism. An online relationship between the brother and the German daughter ignites, and the four protagonists seek common ground. At Your Doorstep explores the fears, hopes, and expectations of young people on both continents, the challenges of coming together via social media, and what happens when you leave the safety of the internet „bubble“ and the virtual becomes real. Post-performance question and answer sessions, with live-stream video links, were facilitated in both Bielefeld and Johannesburg, promoting intercontinental dialogue and cultural exchange between young people.


  • Composers: Matthew McFarlane & Marc L. Vogler
  • Librettist and Director: Robert Lehmeier
  • Film Director: Konrad Kästner
  • Sets and Costumes: Marie-Luise Otto, Karabo Legoabe Mthsahli & Nthabiseng Makone
  • Dramaturgy: Jón Philipp von Linden
  • She / Sie: Mayan Goldenfeld
  • He / Er: July Zuma
  • Sister / Schwester: Nokuthula Magubane
  • Mother / Mutter: Nohad Becker
  • Production: Theater Bielefeld & Market Theatre Foundation


March 29 2023, Market Theatre, Johannesburg (South Africa) & Theater Bielefeld (Germany)


© Hoek Swaratlhe & Sarah Jonek