The Emperor's New Clothes
Theatre for Children & Young People / Victoria Theatre

This is a fresh Proudly South African modern take on this classic tale. Tik-Tok influencer Charlie and her beloved Grandad prank the vain emperor in an attempt to teach him a well deserved lesson.  Can they convince him to work together to create a better life for all?  


His Majesty is a vain man, obsessed with his looks and living a great life, he doesn’t care too much about his subjects. In his quest to be the world’s leading fashion icon, he enlists the help of TikTok sensation Charlotte. Charlie and her aged Grandad decide to trick the emperor and expose him for the world to see. Can she convince him that that she is making him a magical cloak which is only visible to clever people? Will the Emperor learn his lesson? To find out, come and join us for some family fun!


This well-loved tale by Hans Christian Andersen gets a fresh look with a distinctly South African flavour. Actors Henu Badenhorst and Jessie Diepeveen play all the various characters that take us on a journey behind the scenes at the emperor’s palace. The show deals with social imbalances and is a mirror held up to a society that is obsessed with social media and how this power can be harnessed to improve the world. It is a reminder to the audience not to be taken in by fame and fortune because, as Grandad says, “A fool and his money are soon parted!’

Production Credits

Henu Baden: Emperor & Grandad & Patricio

Jessie Diepeveen: Lorinda & Charlie 

Written: Sue Diepeveen 

Directed: Sue Diepeveen 

Produced: The Drama Factory 

About the Artists

Jessie Diepeveen is a performer, writer, director, and all-round lover of bringing interesting stories to life. She is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, where she received a distinction in her Performance-Making degree.

Though her career is only just launching, Jessie's recent work includes a role in the Emmy-nominated series, Reyka (2024), a supporting lead in the South African feature film, Just Now Jeffrey (2024) lead in SABC2's Signal High 2 (2021), as well as a lead in the short film, Around Again (2022). In early 2023, Jessie debuted as a professional writer and director with her play, Patisserie Femme which resulted in her being nominiated for a Fleur Du Cap Award for Best New Director.  The production was also nimoinated for a Best Ensemble Fluer Du Cap Award.  She perfromed in Boxed directed by Margot Wood for the Inclusive Arts Festival.

When Jessie has a moment to spare, she is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fanatic, water sports enthusiast, a singer, and an avid South African wildlife-goer.


Henu Baden is an actor, voice artist and writer hailing from the Garden of Eden - Mpumalanga. After graduating from the University of Cape Town he has performed on stage, on screen and on street. His most recent works include the children’s theatre production of The Emperors New Clothes and the Kamishibai style Jack & the Beanstalk. He also performed in the Standard Bank Ovation Award winning: Baked Shakespeare’s As You Like It. (2023).  Henu is a regular performer in the Dinners To Die For series. 

Henu was part of 2023 BBC’s Comic Relief where he played the character Luke in a Love Island skit alongside British comedian Asim Chaudhry. And if you look hard enough you can find him in a Russian Tomato advert. 

Henu performed in Boxed, a comic book theatre production for Out the Woods Inclusive Arts Festival. This performance was specifically catered to audiences who are hearing impaired. Simultaneously he performed Duncan MacMillan’s ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ under the direction of Jeff Brooker, which will be opened at The Drama Factory before a sucessful tour to KKNK in March. 


  • Venue: Victoria Theatre
  • Location: Victoria Girls' High School
  • Ticket price: R100.00
  • Programme type: The Fringe
  • Genre: Theatre for Children & Young People
  • Duration: 50 min
  • Ages: ALL AGES
    • Suitable for All Ages
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