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Thirteen flagship arts organisations receive significant project funding from National Arts Council

Thirteen of South Africa’s flagship arts organisations have received grants totalling over R9 million from the National Arts Council (NAC) for a series of high-profile projects which will roll out both nationally and provincially from 2014 to 2015 across all seven of its fields – craft, dance, literature, multi-discipline, music, theatre and visual arts.

The five national projects to receive funding are; Lefika La Phodiso: The Art Therapy Centre, for a series of training resource books and accompanying activities; The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities SA to fund the I See You Johannesburg family festival; Sign Language Education and Development, to develop a wide range of literature for Deaf learners; The South African Book Development Council for its series of titles published in marginalised indigenous languages; and Vuyani Dance Theatre, for a new production featuring 16 dancers designed to tour SA.

On the regional front two Western Cape projects have been identified for funding. From the Hip: Khulumakahle was chosen for its project Interpreting for Theatre, which aims to give full and equal access to the country’s Deaf community by providing South African Sign Language interpreting services at two flagship events, as well as mentoring and training of interpreters. Cape Town’s Magnet Theatre Educational Trust gained funding for its proposed touring and performance seasons, which will be available in indigenous languages such as IsiXhosa and Afrikaans and will focus mainly on early years theatre for pre-school and primary school children.

The Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra’s Music Investment Project has been funded for various strands of its work focusing on previously disadvantaged learners - the training of instrument repairers; the Violin Project targeting primary school learners; a bridging course for senior learners who wish to further their studies at tertiary institutions, and the Youth Orchestra and Youth Orchestral Experience, which prepares young musicians for professional performances.

Also in the Eastern Cape, The Keiskamma Trust has proposed a year-long programme clustered into three art forms – music, art and drama – leading to a production and exhibition to be showcased at the National Arts Festival in 2015.

The Gauteng-based Ifa Lethu Foundation has been funded to develop a network of three creative production units in rural areas in Limpopo, the Northern Cape and the Free State, offering practical assistance to enter the creative industries through the development of export-quality products and design.

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative has been awarded funding to establish a rural arts centre in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga, focusing on providing support, development and training with a national and international footprint.

Garage Dance Ensemble in the Northern Cape has received funding towards establishing a viable full time dance company in O’okiep, aiming to produce cutting edge, internationally competitive work.

The University of the Free State‘s Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice has been awarded for a project focusing on skills development for tertiary fine arts students and young professionals working in the visual arts in Bloemfontein, in partnership with the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and Rhodes University’s Fine Arts Department in Grahamstown.

Commenting on the range of funding granted, the NAC’s CEO Rosemary Mangope said; “It gives me great pleasure to announce additional funding to support these wide-ranging projects which will be of benefit both nationally and locally, particularly as so many will impact on young people, marginalised and previously disadvantaged groups by facilitating access to all art forms.

“As a result of the availability of unclaimed funds, the NAC was able to make funding available to projects that meet the organisation’s strategic imperatives. The NAC is confident that the skills development focus of many of these projects will not only help numerous South Africans to become the educators, performers and producers of tomorrow, but also that the engaging and fresh approach brought by all these companies will nurture long term audience development, ensuring equal access to and enjoyment in the arts for all.”

Editors Notes

The Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra

PROVINCE: Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (ECPO) is a part-time orchestra established in 1998. It draws its musicians from a wide range of disciplines, including music lecturers, teachers and students and is supported by prominent conductors.

The ECPO has been funded for its multi-stranded Music Investment Project focusing on previously disadvantaged learners, including the training of instrument repairers; the Violin Project, targeting primary school students; a bridging course for senior learners who wish to further their studies at tertiary institutions, and the Youth Orchestra and Youth Orchestral Experience, which prepares young musicians for professional performances.

The project will focus entirely on previously disadvantaged youngsters, who will receive quality music tuition and opportunities to perform.

Website: http://www.ecpo.org.za/

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative

PROVINCE: Gauteng

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative was established in 1995 to promote contemporary dance and theatre in South Africa. Throughout its existence the company has collaborated with leading dance and theatre companies at both local and international level to present quality training and performances.

Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative has been awarded funding to establish a rural arts centre in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga, which will provide support, development and training. The centre aims to become a networking hub where rural artists can create work and share knowledge on the creative industries, both locally and internationally.

Website: http://forgottenangle.co.za/

From the Hip: Khulumakahle

PROVINCE: Western Cape

From the Hip: Khulumakahle is a ground-breaking theatre company that works in the field of visual theatre, with a long-standing goal of integrating the Deaf in the performing arts world in South Africa. FTH: K recently launched its South African Sign Language (SASL) Interpreting for Theatre Project 2014/15 with the aim of equal and total theatre access for the Deaf.

FTH: K will partner with relevant organizations in identifying two flagship works, mentoring and training SASL interpreters in interpreting for theatre, and also fostering the necessary awareness and audience engagement required to host an integrated Deaf and hearing audience.

Website: http://www.fthk.co.za/

Garage Dance Ensemble

PROVINCE: Northern Cape

Since 2011 Garage Dance Ensemble has produced six productions that have been staged at Dance Umbrella, The Baxter Dance Festival and the National Arts Festival. The ensemble aims to challenge and affirm the community’s social practice and belief system, through performance and teaching.

The company has received funding to establish a viable full time dance company in O’okiep, aiming to produce cutting edge, internationally competitive work which impacts positively on the communities of both the Namakwa region and the wider province

Ifa Lethu Foundation

PROVINCE: Gauteng

The Gauteng-based Ifa Lethu Foundation is committed to the development and the economic growth of the creative sector nationally and manages the largest heritage repatriation and youth creative entrepreneurial development efforts in SA. All crafters and emerging artists who benefit from Ifa Lethu's three phase training programmes, which include business skills training, are drawn from rural communities.

The foundation has been funded to develop a network of three creative production units in rural areas in Limpopo, the Northern Cape and the Free State, offering practical assistance to enter the creative industries through the development of export-quality products and design.

Website: http://www.ifalethu.org.za/

The Keiskamma Trust

PROVINCE: Eastern Cape

The Keiskamma Trust started an arts project in 2001 in the village of Hamburg in the Eastern Cape to restore the self-esteem of the impoverished local community. The Trust’s programmes include an arts project, music academy, health services, education and an innovative creative development initiative.

The Keiskamma Trust has proposed a year-long programme clustered into three art forms – music, art and drama – leading to a production and exhibition at the National Arts Festival in 2015, showcasing world renowned Keiskamma tapestries. The project aims to expose both participants and audiences to the rich Xhosa cultural heritage.

Website: http://www.keiskamma.org/

Lefika La Phodiso: The Art Therapy Centre

PROVINCE: Gauteng

Lefika La Phodiso is Africa’s first psychoanalytically informed Community Art Counselling training centre. Their mission is to build capacity for empathy by training groups of Community Art Counsellors dedicated to psychosocial transformation through the creative arts and their vision is to provide safe spaces in which creativity and containment nourish emotional development and build healthy relationships.

The Centre is awarded for a series of training resource books and accompanying activities showcasing previously disadvantaged South African artists and renowned arts activists. The project will also disseminate the Lefika model of training and practice.

Website: http://www.arttherapycentre.co.za/

Magnet Theatre Educational Trust

PROVINCE: Western Cape

Magnet Theatre Educational Trust aims to develop and train youth who do not have access to existing tertiary institutions.

Operating in both rural and urban areas of the Western Cape, the trust has been awarded funding for its proposed touring and performance seasons, which will be available in indigenous languages such as IsiXhosa and Afrikaans. These performances will focus mainly on early years theatre for pre-school and primary school children in the rural areas of Cederberg and in Cape Town townships. The company will also host Saturday morning performances at its venue in Observatory, Cape Town.

Website: http://magnettheatre.co.za/

The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities SA

PROVINCE: Gauteng

The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities SA (NCPPDSA) is an NGO with a footprint throughout South Africa. It has nine Provincial Associations for Persons with Disabilities with numerous projects and branches, with the focus on rural development and social and economic empowerment, including the production of arts and crafts, to the benefit of persons with disabilities.

The NCPPDSA in collaboration with A Better World Network, Weheartbeat and Thisability Newspaper, has been funded for a family festival called I See You Johannesburg, to include live music and performance, visual arts, technology design and dialogue sessions, highlighting the need for accessible activities, environments and programmes for the inclusion of all. The festivities will include a children’s activity area. The council is also developing an initiative to celebrate the UNESCO World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Sign Language Education and Development

PROVINCE: Western Cape & Gauteng

The vision of SLED is to see all South Africa’s Deaf children achieving their full potential through the understanding and use of South African Sign Language (SASL). The underlying purpose is to enable all Deaf children to participate equally and fully in education, society and employment, embracing their democratic rights. To this end, SLED focuses artistically on signed SASL stories, poems, richly illustrated readers and teaching materials to communicate learning, culture and history. SLED’s Deaf artists in the form of illustrators, poets and story-tellers, work alongside linguists to create dynamic and effective educational material.

SLED has been awarded funding to develop a wide range of signed SASL literature for Deaf learners, including educational materials in signed poetry, children’s stories in SASL and in print, historical and contemporary biographies, descriptive narratives and SASL non-fiction. The process will involve research to identify Deaf poets, artists and narrators before creating these unique Deaf community resources.

Website: http://www.sled.org.za/

The South African Book Development Council

PROVINCE: Western Cape

The South African Book Development Council is the representative body for the South African book sector and aims to provide strategic leadership through transformative projects. It also promotes and stimulates the development of books in indigenous, marginalized languages.

The council has been awarded funding for a series of titles to be published in marginalised indigenous languages, with the aim of building capacity amongst publisher and writers from previously marginalized groups to increase their sustainability in the mainstream sector, while also increasing the number of black authors earning royalties.

Website: http://sabookcouncil.co.za/

The University of the Free State’s Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice

PROVINCE: Free State

The University of the Free State’s Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice is one of the flagship intellectual projects of the University.

The Institute has been awarded for a project focusing on skills development for tertiary fine arts students and young professionals working in the visual arts in Bloemfontein, in partnership with the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and Rhodes University’s Fine Arts Department in Grahamstown. The project will develop course materials and identify facilitators and speakers through which capacity building dialogue sessions can take place at each university. It will also transfer values, practical skills and knowledge to the project participants, resulting in the development of public art interventions which focus on the emancipation of the African voice in issues of social cohesion.

Website: http://institute.ufs.ac.za/

Vuyani Dance Theatre

PROVINCE: Gauteng

Founded in 1999 by executive director Gregory Maqoma, Vuyani Dance Theatre has grown to be one of the most sought-after contemporary dance companies to emerge in South Africa. The vision of the artistic team – Maqoma, with Luyanda Sidiya as artistic director - produces choreographed works that are rooted in the concrete reality of SA, fusing different cultures and traditions with contemporary urban forms as a vehicle to create sustainable arts jobs and contribute to the local creative economy.

VDT has been awarded funding for a new dance production featuring 16 dancers designed to tour SA. The production will focus on positive stories, with the aim of inspiring youth to appreciate their own cultures and traditions.

Website: http://www.vuyani.co.za/

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