Touring Ventures is a work stream of Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE), designed to strengthen and grow the Arts, Culture and Heritage (ACH) Sector. This venture has been established to ensure that existing exhibitions, fairs, shows and performances are supported to tour domestically and internationally. Tours to remote areas of the country to provide access for marginalised audiences and to sustain jobs will also be included.
It will enable the Sector to stabilise and consolidate, providing access to work and experience, capacity building and linkages to tourism. In the long term, it is meant to reduce dependency on financial assistance from government and insecurity in the ACH Sector and to allow for improved professional planning and accountability by the Sector.
Objectives of the Touring Ventures Programme
1. To support wider, cost-effective opportunities for the nation’s cultural outputs to be viewed, observed and enjoyed around the country and beyond.
2. To increase the audience and exposure that each production receives, which will in turn increase the number of jobs, livelihoods, income and work that these performances, events and exhibitions create; to increase the social cohesion of the country and in particular of the location in question; and finally to increase the upskilling opportunities in our arts and culture communities or sector.
3. To support national, provincial and local government, cultural institutions, cultural agencies, arts groupings and individual arts practitioners in a reciprocal and sustainable approach to touring.
Progress so far
In the financial year 2012/13 R5 million in support was granted to the following six performing arts cultural institutions: ArtsCape, The Market Theatre, Pacofs, The Playhouse Company, The South African State Theatre and Windybrow. This support was granted to extend the lifespan and exposure of previously programmed productions to the broader South African public. The following is the calendar and short descriptions of the theatre works that have been touring since March 2013 and that will continue until October 2013.
Synopsis of Funded Productions:
'Kunstreffers' is an 80-minute show that features genres such as ballet, African indigenous music, opera, jazz and contemporary music. The objective of the programme is to promote the arts and community building in rural areas. The idea is for rural communities to experience performances that highlight the exceptional talent and diversity of our country. This is supplemented by productions for learners, a career expo for high school learners and a youth dialogue.
A week before show time the technical crew would already be busy transforming the venue, usually a conservative space such as a school hall, into a theatre. It is here were learners are invited to watch and learn about the operations of sound, lighting, props and sets.
Three young drama school graduates; Stanley, Melvin and Elliot, team up with Waldo, a director of children’s theatre, to entertain children in a local shopping mall. There they are harangued by the children and management alike. Taking stock of their situation becomes all-important, leading to bizarre situations getting out of control. Any actor who has ever worn any sort of animal costume for a performance will know the feeling of exploitation they endure for the sake of a pay cheque.
Two South African friends are reunited at a wedding overseas. Luke is a gay economics professor at UCT, while Thabisa is a Zürich-based banking executive. They haven't seen each other in a while and quickly start catching up. Alas, this includes some heated discussions about Luke's refusal to get over an old break-up and Thabisa's decision to move overseas to live her own life. Complicating matters even more is the groom's brother Markus, a physiotherapist for 'Doctors without Borders' to whom both Luke and Thabisa are attracted. Can their friendship withstand a weekend of flirting, fighting, and way too much booze?
Brothers in Blood
A five-hander exploring the universal theme of prejudice, in the evergreen context of religious tension between Jewish, Muslim and Christian characters. It is set in Cape Town in the late 1990s against the backdrop of the activities of People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD), which caused high tension within the city at the time. 'Brothers in Blood' was a product of the writers’ residency, written by Mike van Graan.
Kingdom of Earth
Tennessee Williams’s rarely seen masterpiece, 'Kingdom of Earth', is a savage, sexy and darkly comic play. Terminally ill Lot returns to the Mississippi Delta with his new bride, Myrtle, to reclaim his ancestral home from his brooding, feral half-brother, Chicken. As rain falls and the river threatens to flood the land, these three lost souls engage in a brutal power play for the possession of all they’ve ever known.
Running on Empty
Liesbet, a single woman, is running on a treadmill on an empty stomach; the hamster wheel of her thoughts. She struggles to maintain her balance, stumbling over her past. This is an English translation of 'Hol', originally an Afrikaans one-hander, featuring Nicola Hanekom as writer/performer. It was a product of the Artscape New Writing Programme 2012, after which it had extremely successful runs at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, The Amsterdam Performing Arts Festival and the State Theatre. 'Hol' is a multi-award winning production; having scooped up the highest accolade at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in South Africa, the Gold Ovation Award; and numerous awards at the prestigious Fleur de Cap national theatre awards.
The Market Theatre
This celebrated and much-loved South African classic asks what would happen if Jesus Christ (Morena) came back to South Africa during the apartheid era. The first part of the play sets the scene, attacking the pass laws that prevented black South Africans from moving and working freely. In a few short minutes, it sketches the semi-slavery that was imposed on manual workers by bosses, who could fire them if they got too independent. However, there is always a rich vein of humour even in the worst adversity. The use of clowns’ noses to distinguish the elite Afrikaners - including the Prime Minister – from the apparently subservient blacks was one of the features that made this play famous. The short, impressionistic sketches begin to move from background scenes of generally downtrodden life to interviews with individuals about the impending visit of Morena – who inaugurates his Second Coming by flying to South Africa courtesy of SAA.
The second half of the play becomes considerably darker and more resonant. Now, Jesus is in the country and his life is replayed in the apartheid context. He is first welcomed, then imprisoned on Robben Island. This retelling of a familiar story in a new context becomes devastating by the end, shedding light on both the Bible and apartheid South Africa.
'The Line' is a powerful and chilling play about human nature and moments in time in South Africa. It was constructed from a series of interviews with South Africans involved in or affected by the xenophobic attacks that took place in May 2008. Research for the play indicated that the attacks were about far more than hatred against foreigners - they were an angry cry and a violent response to lack of service delivery, access to resources, inhumane living conditions and failed governance. Embedded in these actions is a warning to all South Africans that the authorities are unwilling to hear.
'The Line' explores the fragility of goodness and questions what caused the attacks, who was responsible, what makes good people do bad things and how people cross 'the line'. It raises issues about what it means to be South African; what it means to be a foreigner living in South Africa; what our responsibilities as global citizens are, and how we can protect and preserve our humanity and the humanity of others.
The Madonna of Excelsior
In 1971, 19 citizens of Excelsior in South Africa’s white-ruled Free State were charged with breaking apartheid’s Immorality Act, which forbade sex between blacks and whites. The play focuses on the story of one such fallen Madonna, Niki, and her family at the heart of the scandal. It explores the emotions and endless search of the coloured girl Popi, Niki’s daughter, for her real farther and thus her true identity. Her mother refuses to talk about the past and Popi then decides to search for her answers elsewhere. Will she discover her true identity, or be left in the dark forever by her mother?
In response to the call to celebrate South Africa’s heritage through honouring the people who contributed to the liberation struggle that led to freedom of the oppressed, Pacofs celebrates John Langalibalele Dube. Affectionately known as Mafukuzela, he was a leader, a priest, a journalist, a teacher, a scholar, an author and the first president of the African National Congress; a man who fought tirelessly for the education of black children and for freedom of all Africans.
'Mafukuzela' is a narrative concert that introduces audiences to the music of J L Dube through narrative song and dance, featuring the diva songstress Sibongile Khumalo, complemented by an orchestra, choir and dancers. The concert tells Mafukuzela’s story through movement and a fusion of gospel, indigenous music, choral, jazz and classical sounds. The concert promises an unforgettable and unique evening under the directorship of Jerry Pooe, with celebrated choreographers and musicians.
The story is about two people who are deeply in love but could not be together. When they parted, the girl gave the boy her African sandal as an expression of her love and a symbol of their commitment to the love that was never going to be.
The family, especially the sisters, disapprove of the relationship and use all means to ensure that the two never meet. The girl disappears and no one seems to know where she is. The boy starts on a journey searching for her. He goes everywhere but finds no trace of her. He goes to the inyangas, izangoma, faith healers and churches to no avail. On his journey, the boy comes across a wise old man who realizes that the boy is troubled when the boy opens up and tells him his story. The old man informs the boy that he must go to a place called “Maraklas” and that he will find the love of his love there. Without hesitation, the boy travels to an unknown place in the hope of fulfilling the dream of meeting his long-lost love.
On arrival at the place, foreign as it is to him, he goes through the valley and mountains to where he has been directed. The sound of a drum directs him to where the African sandals are. He finally meets the love of his life and a big celebration takes place. The story is told through tap dance, music, singing and narration.
The Playhouse Company
'Race' is about three lawyers - two partners, one African-American, one white, and their young African-American law clerk - who are deciding whether to take the case of a wealthy white man accused of raping an African-American woman. The play, like the case, is not open and shut. Shame, guilt, class, sex, lies and, of course, race, are all provocatively stirred together in this fast-paced show. Theatregoers will probably dissect and discuss this show long after the curtain goes down