Art Meets Tourism at The FATC 2018 My Body My Space Public Arts Festival

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This will be The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative’s (FATC) fourth My Body My Space (MBMS) Public Arts Festival, which has grown in popularity since its inception in 2015. MBMS 2018, funded by the Department of Arts and Culture, is a festival of public performances, installations, happenings and exhibitions curated by FATC and takes place in public spaces throughout the Emakhazeni Local Municipality (ELM), in rural Mpumalanga. This year MBMS will bring the countryside alive with dancing, art and music, from 20 to 25 March.
 
Don’t let the fact that the festival is set against a rural backdrop fool you. MBMS is a hugely anticipated and exciting event attracting award-winning national and international artists and organisations, plus a large and diverse audience from around South Africa and the globe. “People come from far and wide to attend and participate in this ground-breaking festival, which premieres local and international artists and performances in various spaces across a rural landscape,” says FATC founder and festival director PJ Sabbagha. “Ultimately though it’s much more than an arts festival in the countryside. It’s about questioning the critical personal and social issues we currently face and engaging the audience in dialogue.”
 
Since its beginnings, MBMS has developed a unique identity in its striking setting of rural Mpumalanga. The festival showcases cutting edge, socially relevant work produced by some of the country and continent’s most talented artists. “The MBMS events encourage dialogue around difficult issues. The festival is about reclaiming public spaces in society and reframing the rural / urban narrative as a key part of the arts and culture dialogue. It’s disruptive in that it makes audiences question and think. It urges them to see things from a different perspective,” explains Sabbagha. “The program format and the use of different spaces and sites, further contributes to the national agenda around social cohesion and nation building. It does so in the way it cuts across boundaries and in how it works to reconnect people through the arts.”
 
“In response to and in support of the global #metoo campaign, as well as the framing of the festival by Human Rights Day on 21 March, MBMS provides an opportunity for FATC to amplify its sustained commitment to Arts Activism, arts for personal and social transformation and speaking the difficult stuff,” Sabbagha says.
 
Keeping this in mind FATC has worked to curate a festival program that places an emphasis on women’s voices, Gender-Based Violence and sexuality. This year, audiences can expect a diverse offering from artists locally, nationally and internationally who add their creative and artistic voices to these critical narratives.
 
The MBMS festival is comprised of 3 programmes: The Arteries Programme, the Central Nervous System Programme (CNS) and a Workshop and Training Programme. The Arteries programme takes place from 21 to 23 March and includes a programme of works for and by children in the towns of Machadodorp / Emthontheni, Belfast / Siyathuthuka and Dullstroom / Sakhelwe. The programme is made up of children’s theatre works by Wits’ Drama For Life Theatre Company and Human-Rights Day-focussed performances by the children and youth of FATC’s ongoing Arts Education Programme in ELM, funded by Rand Merchant Bank.
 
The CNS programme takes place in Machadodorp, Emthonjeni and surrounding areas, from 23 to 25 March, and is made up of a selection of commissioned performances by local, national and international artists. This year the festival is proud to host international artists from Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Reunion Island and Spain, alongside talented South African artists from KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
 
The festival’s exciting opening program will feature a performance by Musa Hlatshwayo, who is the recipient of the 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for dance. Joining Musa as part of the festival opening program on 23 March, from 6pm, at Millys of Machadodorp, will be Soraya Thomas (Reunion Island) and McIntosch Jerahuni (Zimbabwe). Then, concluding the opening program, South African songstress and composer Jennifer Ferguson and her son Gabriel Nyberg will take the audience on a personal musical journey called Songlines, which spans home and exile, memory and forgetting, the child and the wo/man, loss and wonder.
 
This year audiences can expect award-winning artists including principal dancer, teacher, choreographer and creative assistant at Vuyani Dance Theatre, Lulu Mlangeni, who was named the first recipient of the Sophie Mgcina Best Emerging Voice Award supported by the Market Theatre, at the Naledi Awards, in 2014. She was also awarded The Most Outstanding Female Dancer 2007 in Contemporary Style at the Dance Umbrella Festival. This year’s festival features significant female artists such as Julia Burnham, Nomcebisi Moyikwa, Lucia Walker, Nomfundo Hlongwa, Aida Colmenero Diaz (Spain), Erica Lüttich, Joni Barnard, Jade Bowers and Khutjo Green. Internationally acclaimed companies such as The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, Moving Into Dance Mophatong, Vuyani Dance Theatre, Sibikwa Arts Centre and Drama For Life contribute to this year’s impressive line-up. A number of cutting-edge works by independent artists such as Wezile Mgibe, Kwanele Finch Thusi and Thami Majela are bound to initiate robust dialogue around sexuality and identity.
 
The Workshop and Training Programme is from 20 to 23 March and includes skills exchange workshops, arts processes and mini-training programs offered by visiting artists, facilitators and technicians. This development component of the festival is focused on youth, children, women and people with disabilities. It accesses FATC’s extensive and on-going ELM Outreach Partner Network and local schools.
 
67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day will also be present during the festival in the form of vibrant woollen scarves which will be tied to trees throughout the ELM countryside. These scarves will then be distributed to local children and youth within FATC’s rural Education Programme.
 
The MBMS festival is strongly committed to stimulating the local Emakhazeni economy, growing job creation opportunities and developing a vibrant arts and culture tourism sector in the region. Through a focus on delivering a unique rural arts festival experience while showcasing works of the highest standard, MBMS is fast-becoming the vibrant arts experience destination to be at, from 20 to 25 March. And with a wide variety of accommodation throughout the ELM, the festival is the perfect opportunity for art and theatre-loving audiences to head out of the city limits and spend an idyllic week immersed in the culture of art, dance and music.
 
For information of where to stay contact pj@forgottenangle.co.za.
The 2018 Festival Partners are:

Principal Funder:                     The Department of Arts and Culture

Producing Partner:                  The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative and the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre

 

Provincial Partners:

o          Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Authority

o          Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation

 

Local Government:

o          Emakhazeni Local Municipality

International Agencies:

o          Pro Helvetia and Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation

o          French Institute of South Africa (IFAS)

o          Embassy of Spain in Pretoria

o          CASA Africa

National Private and Arts & Culture Sector:

o          Drama for Life Wits University

o          Rand Merchant Bank

o          Business Arts South Africa

o          Millys of Machado

o          UJ Arts and Culture

o          Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Studies

o          The Hillbrow Theatre Project – Outreach Foundation

o          Boitumelo Project – Outreach Foundation

o          Sibikwa Arts Centre

o          Vuyani Dance Theatre

o          Cie Morphose

o          Moving Into Dance Mophatong

o          Nantea Dance Company

o          Robaby Productions

o          Mhayise Productions

o          Kwanele Finch Thusi

o          Jerahuni Movement Factory

o          Wezile Mgibe

o          Nomcebisi Moyikwa

o          Lucia Walker and Nomfundo Hlongwa

o          Khutjo Green

o          Pumlani Nyanga & Thabo Kobeli

o          Thami Majela

o          Peace of Music

o          The Ar(t)chive

o          Splitbeam/Gearhouse

o          BUZ Publicity

o          360-Online

o          Greys Inn

o          67 Blankets for Nelson  Mandela Day

o          Absolute Leisure Cottages

o          The Old Mill

o          Khaya Langa Guest House

o          Chazon Tekna

o          Belfast Children’s Home

 

MEDIA QUERIES

BUZ PR

Bridget van Oerle/ Sneziwe Dube

buz@buz.co.za/ info@buz.co.za

011 673 0264/ 011 477 0923

 

My Body My Space Public Arts Festival

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative & Ebhudlweni Arts Centre presents

My Body My Space Public Arts festival

Dates:           20 – 25 March 2018

Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga

Source: BASA website
Start Date: 
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 00:00 to Sunday, March 25, 2018 - 00:00
Media Enquiries: 
pj@forgottenangle.co.za
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