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Annual South African Women’s Arts Festival at The Playhouse

The Playhouse Company’s 20th annual South African Women’s Arts Festival

For Women’s Month in August, The Playhouse Company will present its famed South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF), from 11 – 19 August 2016. Celebrating 60 years since the 1956 Women’s March to Parliament.

Workshops for Artists and Suppliers

11 August: Touring and Funding in the Arts with panellists John Mogashoa from the Department of Arts and Culture. Michelle Constant from Business and Arts South Africa, and Sanele Dlamini from the National Lotteries Commission are included as well. The session will be facilitated by Durban theatre practitioner, Jerry Pooe.

During this workshop, Playhouse Company CFO, Amar Mohanparasadh will present a tutorial about the government’s Central Supplier Database (CSD), the benefits of registering and how to go about it.

Open Mic and Sundowners

12 August: Bongani Mavuso will facilitate an Open Mic session with some of KZN’s top artists of the spoken word, followed by a performance by musician Thobeka Langa and her band in The Playhouse Company’s regular Sundowners slot. Twenty-seven-year-old Pietermaritzburg jazz vocalist Thobeka Langa specialized in jazz and popular music during her studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has shared the stage with several high profile artists such as Lira, Judith Sephuma, Ronnie Jordan, MiCasa, and Ernie Smith.

Test-Driving the Arts

13 August: The Playhouse Company’s regular Test Driving the Arts concerts outside the front of the Playhouse. This time, featuring Zandile’s Women Drummers and Mzansi Arts Development.

Dance Workshops with Moving Into Dance Mophatong

13 August: The award-winning Moving Into Dance Mophatong will conduct two of their renowned Afro fusion dance workshops at the Playhouse. This lively journey towards contemporary dance promises a fun-filled morning that will take participants’ bodies on a physical journey through the unique spirit and history of contemporary African movement and dance, while participants learn valuable warm-up skills, dance techniques, and a thrilling fusion of African dance styles.

I Took A Stand

13 August: A dramatic staging of the stories of women who were affected by or participated in the 1956 Women’s March to Parliament. These priceless stories will be dramatized on The Playhouse Company’s magnificent Opera Theatre stage, interspersed with songs of freedom performed by the Clermont Choir and the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. The production is written by Thuli Zuma, and directed by Edmund Mhlongo.

Sundowners Concert

13 August: The Playhouse Company’s regular Sundowners Concert will feature a double bill of the band Afro Soul and singer Skye Wanda, along with some of the province’s top performance poets. The three-piece Afro Soul is made up of Surgent Malishe (aka Lion Lish), Sabelo Ngema (aka Jakalase) and Thandeka Zulu (aka Mujeetha).

Girls Nite Out Comedy

13 August: An all-woman explosion of laughter featuring Mel Jones, Lindzy Msimang, Nina Haste and Shimmy Isaacs, and directed by Monwabisi Grootboom.

Annual South African Women’s Arts Festival
Leagan Peffer, Julia Hosmer and Kristi-Leigh Gresse in We are still marching

We are still marching

11 – 13 August: A brand new dance work commissioned by The Playhouse Company to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March on Parliament in 1956. Choreographed by Sunnyboy Motau of Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MIDM), the production will feature two award-winning dance companies: The Playhouse Dance Residency and MIDM. The piece explores the struggles faced by women in South Africa and neighbouring countries from the apartheid era until the present day. It is a reminder of incidents such as the Women’s March, the bus boycott and the recent mass #FeesMustFall campaign, and of the fact that even 22 years after the first democratic elections in South Africa, the struggle continues and women are still marching.

Arts Aspire Organisation presentations

Arts Aspire Organisation, a new theatre company currently based in The Playhouse Company’s Cellar Theatre, will present three productions as part of the Company’s South African Women’s Arts Festival.

Blood, Sweat and Nothing

13 August: Written and directed by Xolani Dlongolo and performed by Kholeka Madulini, Blood, Sweat and Nothing takes us through the story of a female ex-Umkhonto weSizwe operative called Gcinizwe Khumalo who lost both her parents while she was in exile. After 15 years in exile, she was happy to come back to South Africa only to find that it not what she thought it would be and that life is hard even for those who fought for the liberation of the country. This sensitive story is told through powerful monologues, flashbacks and music

Between Labour and Prayer

17 August: Written by Simo Mpapa Mjola and directed by Khutjo Green, Between Labour and Prayer looks at the stories of enslaved, objectified and mutilated women who work on a corn farm. It has been a number of years since ownership of the farm changed hands yet nothing has really changed at the farm, even though the new owner is a Black man, Mshengu Shabalala. His laws are still the same as Baas Koekemoor: they are still forced to wear pinafores, doeks, petticoats, and are obliged to wear colourful frocks in Spring to complement the season. The new boss is now perceived by the women as a manipulative, heartless, corrupt and power-hungry ‘Baas Koekemoor’ in a Black man’s skin. The play uses the spoken word, monologues, music and physical movement to carry the narrative.

Thabitha (my African princess)

19 August: Written and directed by Thandanani UNgonyama Qwabe, Thabitha is a story of truth and reconciling with oneself as a powerful woman. It is told through story-telling, where a young woman tells her side of her story of being what women need to be. It is a story of women’s power, dignity and love.

For further information about any of these shows, visit their website or to book, contact the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9596/9540.

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