The Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) has announced the first recipients of funding from its newly structured Professional Development Programme, funded by Nedbank’s Arts Affinity programme.
ACT identified a desperate need for consistent long-term support of the infrastructure that enables arts and culture production and programming. Three-year grants are intended to make a meaningful impact on the capacity and sustainability of South African arts and culture organisations, and have been made towards PANSA (The Performing Arts Network of South Africa) to extend their national footprint, Flatfoot Dance Company, to be used for Business Management Skills Development, and Jungle Theatre Company to support their ‘ground and grow’ work producing theatre for youth.
Once-off grants were made in support of The Boabab, a site-responsive eco-play produced through collaboration between South African Well Worn, Jungle and Zambian-based Seka Theatre Companies; Athari Arts String Quartet performances in Johannesburg; a new collaborative art piece by 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Performance Art Anthea Moys, featuring 35 contemporary dancers conducted by an orchestral conductor, and entitled The Conductor; a new contemporary dance work by Underground Dance Theatre called BOK; and audience development activities under the banner of the Fordsburg Artists’ Studios/The Bag Factory.
ACT and Nedbank Arts Affinity have deliberately focused on supporting projects in under-served areas in the country. For this round of allocations, these projects include research into the life of 1970s student activist Abram Onkgopotse Tiro, which will result in a theatre script by Tiego Shametja (Northwest/Limpopo); a series of exhibitions of artworks in Nelson Mandela Bay, entitled ‘Wish You Were Here’; the development of a new production by ‘Roots of Rhythm’ Tribal Drum Dance group, based in Limpopo, and empowering local artists to become professional income earners through performance; and The Platteland Preview Festival in Smithfield, Free State, which serves as a Halfway House for artists and their productions or exhibitions on their way to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
“As we celebrate and reflect on 20 years of democracy and particularly the roles of the arts and culture in society, we should be spurred on to work even harder to build a legacy through creating a more enabling environment for the arts and culture,” says Maseda Ratshikuni, Head: Nedbank Cause Marketing.
“It is inspiring to be recognised by ACT as an emerging and important new voice in South African theatre”, says choreographer Steven van Wyk, of Underground Dance Theatre.” He elaborates “Vaslav Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun is an important historical landmark that, in 1912, stood for progress and provocation, challenging notions of what is dance and what is beautiful. BOK filters Nijinky’s ballet through the lens of contemporary South Africa, asking the same questions in a different context,” adding that ACT’s grant allows him to develop a high-quality, full-length South African ballet by collaborating with the dancers, costume designer and composer that he could only ever have dreamed about.
“The first set of applications for projects to be funded through our newly restructured Professional Development Programme have been exciting to receive,” says Programme Coordinator Deidré Schoeman.” who goes on to explain: “It is really inspiring to see funding proposals aligning with our vision to support a vibrant and sustainable industry, and the production of high quality new South African work.”
Author: Fiona Gordon
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