PROFILE: THEATRE ARTS ADMIN COLLECTIVE

BEGINNINGS Originally begun in 2008 by 3 theatre companies who recognized the need to share resources, the Theatre Arts Admin Collectiv...

BEGINNINGS

Originally begun in 2008 by 3 theatre companies who recognized the need to share resources, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective formalized itself in June 2009, under the directorship of Caroline Calburn, to serve the wider Cape Town theatre community.

Built on the tenets of affordability, inclusivity and accessibility, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective is a vibrant home for local theatre practitioners – a place where they can create work, develop skills, perform, engage in dialogue and meet and work with theatre practitioners who come from diverse backgrounds, whether cultural, social, economic or simply in skill and experience.  Described as the rehearsal space of choice, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective is dedicated to creating the right environment for artists and theatre to flourish. Easily accessible, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective is just off the main road in Observatory, surrounded by numerous modes of affordable transport.

In an industry which is culturally divided, dominated by a few voices and vastly under-supported financially, both through patronage and funding, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective strives to support, enable and provide opportunity for artists to continue developing skills, creating work and generating income.  Open to fresh ideas and up for experimentation based on current trends in economic thinking, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective is an organic model and successful training ground for re-conceptualising what a theatre institution, in South Africa, can be and how it can sustain itself.

CREATION OF NEW WORKS

The Theatre Arts Admin Collective Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary
The Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary provides opportunity for 4 emerging theatre directors annually to each create a new piece of work under mentorship.  Drawing applications nationally, this is a unique programme that has played a leading role in highlighting the need to continuously mentor young directors and create opportunities for them to develop their craft.  Previous winners include Amy Jephta, Tara Notcutt, Pusetso Thibedi, Kim Kerfoot, Nicola Elliott, Thando Doni, Khayelihle Dominique Gumede, Lidija Marelic, Alan Parker, Thenjiwe Stemela, Phala Ookeditse Phala, Bulelani Mabutyana, Jason Jacobs, Wynne Bredenkamp, MahlastsiMokgonyana, Ameera Conrad, Nwabisa Plaatjie and Thando Mangcu.  Winners for 2018 were Qondiswa James who reinterpretated Athol Fugard’s Statements After An Arrest Under the Immorailty Act with two black women in A Faint Patch of Light, which was both radical and deeply current.  The second winner for the year was Thembela Madliki from the Eastern Cape who created Where She Walked, an adaptation of Zakes Mda’s Heart of Redness.

Past Partners: Baxter Theatre Centre, Distell.
This project has funding for the next 3 years, but is currently being reconceptualized.

Inspiring a Generation
Begun in 2010, Inspiring a Generation acknowledges the dearth of inspiring theatre for young people in South Africa despite the global innovation in this field. The programme aims to inspire South African theatre makers to create high-quality and cutting-edge theatre for children and young people (from babies to teenagers) by exposing them to the very best of international theatre, engaging them in debate, and working alongside experts in the field and to create a platform for the creation of new work. A number of award-winning productions are the result: Get Kraken by Jon Keevy, Narrative Dreams by Lereko Mfono, What Goes UP by Jayne Batzofin and Making Mandela by Jenine Collocott.

ARTS DEVELOPMENT

OY!Theatre
OY!Theatre (Obs Youth Theatre) is a theatre company for young people between the ages of 12 and 18 to create cutting edge performances for teenagers, by teenagers.  The company began at the beginning of 2018 to meet the needs of many young teenagers who are not receiving an adequate drama education in school. Entirely performance based, the company works with established directors who are strongly process orientated to create performances for the public.  In 2018 they performed DNA by British playwright Dennis Kelly directed by Jaqueline Dommisse, OY!s Line is it Anyway, a theatre sports style performance facilitated by Megan Furniss and Through Our Eyes, a collection of personal stories faciliatatedand directed by Thando Doni.  Through Our Eyes travelled to the NAF Makhanda this year where it performed on the fringe festival.  This year the company consists of 12 young people who currently working on an original adaptation of a SA short story, facilitated by Rosa-Karoo Loewe.

Storm Theatre Project
The Storm Theatre Project delivers high-quality performance-based processes for young offenders in prison and post their release.  Performances are shared with a wider audience.  The processes are designed to help facilitate personal reflections and expression as well as re-integration into society.

In 2016, the Storm Theatre Project created Ubuze Bam, a high quality performance with 4 ex-offenders, directed by award winning director Thando Doni and designed by Kabelo Chalatsane.  Ubuze Bam has had successful runs at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective, the National Arts Festival and the Cape Town Fringe this year, as well as performances in schools.

Partners: Young in Prison SA and NL
This project is on hold for 2019.

2 Year Start-Up Resident Company
To support and mentor emerging theatre companies, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective provides an administrative, rehearsal and performance home for 2 years to an emerging company, where they can be mentored administratively and creatively, experience what it means to work as a company and create a body of work from which they can generate income.  The resident company for 2014/15 was UKAO. The2016/17 resident theatre company was the Northern Cape theatre company KleiSand, under the direction of Jason Jacobs.

For 2019 – 2020 the current resident company is SW Theatre SA, a newly formed theatre company of sex workers, the first of its kind in South Africa – in fact globally.  In August they perform their debut production Intando Yam: my choice, a montage of personal stories facilitated and directed by Delia Meyer. SW Theatre SA is a project that emerged out of a partnership with Global Grace, SWEAT (Sex Workers Education and Training), Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies (UCT) and the African Gender Institute (UCT).

Artists Residencies
Provides a 3 week – 3 month residency for local and international artists to research and develop new work.  Having a supported environment in which to experiment, take risks and to enquire deeply in the development of a new work is rare in South Africa.  The TAAC has offered residencies to 4 international artists – Sue Maclaine (UK), Karen Zasloff (USA), and in 2016 Helene HØm and Thomas Danielsen (Denmark).  In 2018 the Resident Artist was Manuela Tessi (Italy/Netherlands). Central to the residencies are facilitated discussions and skills-based workshops with the theatre community. 

Obs Neighbourhood Afterschool Project
Now into its fifth year, the Obs Neighbourhood Afterschool Project aims to provide a safe and constructive haven for children in the neighbourhood to engage in arts and educational activities after school. Observatory being a culturally and economically diverse community, the project aims to develop stronger relationships between community members to ultimately create safer neighbourhood. Activities take place 4 days-a-week with the intention of developing into a 5-day programme that includes holiday programmes. 

Partners: Observatory Methodist Church, The Idea Processor, local Observatory residents


PROMOTION OF THE ARTS
Each year, the TAAC hosts festivals, either curated by the TAAC or by other organisations. This year, the TAAC is host to:
ASSITEJ’s Cradle of Creativity
This year the Theatre Arts Admin Collective is one of 4 local theatre spaces that is partnered with the Cradle of Creativity – an international festival of theatre for young people.

UCT Res4Res
A festival of theatre made by students living in residence for students living in residence, coordinated and facilitated by the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies (UCT).

FACILITATE ACCESS TO THE ARTS AND MARKETS
The Yvonne Banning Reading Room
An invaluable collection of audio visual material and books specializing in theatre, drama, education and plays – for access to the wider Cape Town theatre community who has no access to specialized theatre libraries. The aim is to develop the Yvonne Banning Reading Room into a highly specialized and contemporary play library – the only one of its kind in the Western Cape outside of universities. This year, the catalogue of plays and audio visual material went online.


School Subsidy Programme
Through the start-up of a School Subsidy Programme (a partnership between schools, local businesses and the HCI Foundation), the Theatre Arts Admin Collective has been able to subsidise transport and ticket costs (2011 – 2016) for 6000 children and young people from disadvantaged communities to attend performances and workshops. The HCI Foundation covers transport through the provision of Golden Arrow buses.

Partners: HCI Foundation and Golden Arrow Buses

Rehearsal Space
Two beautiful, light, wooden-floored halls for rehearsals and workshops.  In 2016, the rehearsal rooms provided rehearsal space for just over 100 different theatre companies, theatre practitioners and arts organisations (this does not include members of casts, participants in workshops or company members).  Described as the rehearsal space of choice in Cape Town, the space is used by a wide range of practitioners and has played a crucial role in facilitating the meeting point of theatre practitioners from different cultures and developing a culturally integrated theatre community, essential in Cape Town.  Each year the Theatre Arts Admin Collective subsidizes companies/directors and individual artists in rehearsal space.

Performance Space
The Theatre Arts Admin Collective offers a dynamic and flexible performance space for companies and artists who do not have access to institutions or whose work is experimental.   Described as an underground performance venue, the space is being used increasingly regularly for dance, performance art, site-specific work, festivals and theatre made by specifically by young black artists.  Each year the Theatre Arts Admin Collective hosts between 30 and 40 productions.
                                                             
contact details:                                                                       ‬
Tel: ‪021 447 3683‬         
Email: artsadmin@mweb.co.za         
Website: www.theatrearts.co.za




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Urban Craft Magazine: PROFILE: THEATRE ARTS ADMIN COLLECTIVE
PROFILE: THEATRE ARTS ADMIN COLLECTIVE
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