The My Body My Space Arts Festival (MBMS)is a festival of cutting edge performances, installations and exhibitions that unfold in public spaces throughout the Emakhazeni Municipality, in rural Mpumalanga. Since its inception in 2015, the festival, curated by the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, has developed a unique rural identity and has gained a reputation for programming work that is driven by socio-political activism.
In 2019 the MBMS festival marked and celebrated 25 years of South Africa’s Democracy. Anchored around Freedom Day on the 27th April, MBMS 2019 was a creative platform that celebrated and interrogated the notion of Freedom. The festival had 3 programmes: The Arteries Programme took place from 23- 26 April and provided educational theatre experiences for children and youth in Machadodorp, Emthonjeni, Belfast, Siyathuthuka, Dullstroom, Sakhelwe and Waterval-Boven/ Emgwenya
The Workshop, Skills Development and Collaborations programme took place from 24-26 April and included skills exchange workshops, arts processes and mini-training programs offered by Visiting Artists, Facilitators and Technicians. This development component of the festival was focused on youth, children, women and people with disabilities and accessed FATC’s extensive and on-going ELM LEAP Partner network and local schools.
The Central Nervous System Programme and the Workshop and Training Programme. This was the main programme and it took place from 23 – 28 April 2019. The CNS curated programme took place in Machadodorp, Emthonjeni, at the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre and surrounding areas and was made up of a selection of commissioned performances. The audience was guided through an array of performances, installations and exhibitions that were held in various public sites such as street corners, old stations, tourist attraction sites, rural farms and abandoned buildings.
The project is committed to stimulating the Emakhazeni economy growing job creation and developing a vibrant arts and culture tourism sector. Through NAC funding the programme is committed to rural development through providing access to quality arts experiences and to showcase work with social conscience. They had 55 local beneficiaries creating new work, round table discussions were held with SADC artists to foster relations with the following countries: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and South Africa.