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.”