Inspiring a Generation Updates

Successful applicants for the 2014//2015 programme have been announced: they are Thando Baliso, Jayne Batzofin, Jenine Collocott and Briony Horwitz, and will be involved in an exciting creative exchange with Denmark. The programme will commence on the 1 March 2014 and runs through to end March 2015.

The 2013/2014 participants completed a stimulating and full week's exchange with France, in December 2013 as part of the SA French Seasons 2012-2013 with sponsorship from the National Arts Council and the French Institute. Eliot Moleba, Lereko Mfono, Clara Vaughn and Tristan Jacobs worked with French writers, Gustave Akakpo, Natacha de Pontcharra, Sonia Ristic and Sacha Todorov. The exchange was part of the Ere de Jeu festival in Paris. Here are some brief reflections on the exchange:

Tristan: "I have been reminded not to underestimate the capacity of young people to understand and interrogate deeper issues. I have learnt again that theatre can communicate clearly across linguistic boundaries. I hope to use the awareness of everlasting change (as the constant in the lives of young people) in the new theatre I create. I have also learnt not to be afraid of ‘art’. In the past, I have steered away from making ‘art’ so that I can be accessible to more people – the French theatre-makers showed me that I need not limit myself like that. Seeing how French children are exposed to art and theatre I am invigorated. Perhaps it is not about understanding/meaning but more about experience.

Lereko: "The greatest thing I learnt is that 'spoken' storytelling MUST be coupled with visual storytelling to make an engaging piece of theatre for the young. Not a single piece I saw in France lacked a powerful visual communication, In fact most of them were told just visually."

Eliot: "I was impressed with the level of attention to detail and professionalism invested in the craft, especially the integration of dramaturges or theatres into the creative process; it was inspiring to see some artistically and technically well-crafted shows which came out of this process. I liked the idea of theatre-makers not just always sending work to theatres, but also actively involving the theatres in the creative process. This is a value I hope to imbue in my own creative process."

Inspiring a Generation is an ASSITEJ SA and Theatre Arts Admin Collective initiative that aims to inspire theatre practitioners to make innovative, cutting edge theatre for children in South Africa. Building a new generation of artists working in theatre for children and young people will create a generation of children and young people who love and are inspired by theatre. The 2014/2015 programme is generously sponsored by the DISTELL Foundation and the Danish Arts Council.

ASSITEJ SA RECEIVES GRANT FROM IFCD

ASSITEJ South Africa is delighted to announce that they have received funding from the International Fund for Cultural Diversity: Diversity of Cultural Expressions for their ongoing project "Theatre4Youth", which aims to bring theatre closer to youth in South Africa. The project aims at strengthening the capacities of theatre companies, and bringing together professional artists and educators to foster the development of the theatre for young audiences sector in South Africa. Through this funding, ASSITEJ SA hopes to help strengthen and promote the work of ten member theatre companies, and to assist in the creation and touring of ten original theatre productions, as well as to help create accompanying educational packages. ASSITEJ SA is one of ten projects from developing countries which received funding in the IFCD 2013 funding cycle.

 

REMIX DANCE PROJECT IN SCHOOLS

The Remix Dance Education Project is gearing up for its second year as an ASSITEJ SA integrated arts project. Malcolm Black, Zama Sonjica and Nadine McKenzie from Remix Dance, along with Nicola Elliott and Brink Scholtz will be facilitating workshops with six schools, which will lead to a final public performance. Alongside the performances by the schools involved, there will also be a professional piece created by Remix Dance Company.

The purpose of the project is to help participants to become socially integrated individuals, who not only discover dance as a valuable art form, but add value to the future of South Africa. The project is generously funded by the Rand Merchant Bank Fund for Arts, Culture and Heritage.
 
Remix Dance became one of the Founder Members of the International Inclusive Arts Network which was adopted as a Full Member of ASSITEJ in 2013. The network includes artists in 9 countries, but is already growing rapidly and we look forward to international collaboration and growth of the field resulting from the activities of this network.
 
To find out more about Remix Dance, go to www.remixdanceproject.co.za <//www.remixdanceproject.co.za>
 

NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL 2013

ASSITEJ SA FAMILY FARE has entrenched itself in the fabric of the National Arts Festival, and was a successful collective venture again this year.  2013 saw nine productions across 5 venues, with the heart situated at Oatlands, where the inviting coffee-shop and interactivity space were superbly run by Denese Palm. Our Venue Manager endeared herself to the children by taking on the role and costume of Cassie, the ASSITEJ donkey, and short trips in the donkey cart were very popular for families. Pop-up performances and appearances of puppets and characters from the shows saw families entertained while waiting to see productions.

The productions themselves were all very well received, with Jon Keevy's Get Kraken winning an Ovation award, and Jungle Theatre enjoying sold out shows. Lynn Joffe's "Once Upon a Puppy" workshops were also a great success, and had families creating music and masks together.

ASSITEJ Family Fare at the National Arts Festival was supported by The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) in association with Nedbank Arts Affinity, as well as by Buz Publicity. We are very grateful to our sponsors who made it possible for this collective venue to once again flourish, and look forward to taking the next steps towards ensuring that theatre for children and young people is given its rightful place on festival stages in 2014.

For show information click here.

For the schedule click here.

TOUR OF THE OGRELING TO ZIMBABWE

The Ogreling toured to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in May 2013 and performed at the REPS theatre, both on the Main stage and during the following week, in the smaller Upstairs theatre.

Networking opportunities included a meeting of artists from Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi; a stakeholder meeting for Zimbabwean artists at Town House; and meetings with the Mayor of Harare; the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture; the National Arts Council; the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment; the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development; the Junior Council of Harare; and the District Officials in Education (for Arts and Culture) in Harare.

Workshops were held for artists in Lessac Voice and Body work for Actors, Arts Administration, Company Management and Touring to Schools. We also held a workshop for children, teachers and Arts and Culture district officials in shadow puppetry. There was also a post-show discussion and activity-based workshop for the children who participate in the Preps and Repteens programmes at REPS.

The two weeks proved a very successful cultural exchange in which literally dozens of practitioners became far more aware of ASSITEJ than ever before. There was a far greater sense of solidarity between the two sister organisations (ASSITEJ SA and Zimbabwe) by the end of the exchange, and a deeper understanding on both sides of the challenges the organisations and artists were facing.

“It was so enlightening” – Kiko Paradza

“Loved the link to an outside theatre world. Do it again!” – Melvyne Milikafu

Seeing The Ogreling “totally revolutionised my understanding of theatre for young audiences” - Chrispen Bere

"It was amazing to see how relaxed the performers were in doing the piece – there was no effort. This was a real lesson to me in acting technique.”

- Tafadzwa Muzondo

 

ASSITEJ SA RECIPIENT OF PRESTIGIOUS NALEDI AWARD

At the Naledi Awards on 18 March 2013, ASSITEJ South Africa was awarded the prestigious 2012 Executive Director’s Award, for making a significant contribution to the advancement and development of SA theatre through their vision and commitment to developing theatre for children and young people across the country.

ASSITEJ SOUTH AFRICA is the national centre of an international organisation spanning 85 countries across the world. Its aims are to improve the quality of theatre for children and young people and to stimulate new young audiences through local development and innovation, and through international networking and exchange. It works strategically with partners and members to maximise benefits for children and youth, to synergise opportunities for artists, to pilot and model innovative projects, and to replicate them across the country

At the awards ceremony, Director of ASSITEJ SA, Yvette Hardie, called on all those working in and supporting the arts, to join hands as an active network working together to facilitate the vision that every child in South Africa should have access to the arts as their basic human right.

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