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Call for applications: Artist mentorship programme with Sabine Theunissen

The Centre for the Less Good Idea’s SO Academy, in collaboration with the UNITA program and Scenography Today has an opportunity for 12 artists from across creative disciplines interested in mentorship from artist and theatre, opera, dance, and exhibition designer Sabine Theunissen.

Artists from across disciplines within the arts are encouraged to apply. This four-week intensive programme will expose six in-person and Johannesburg-based artists, and six virtually connected and international artists to the potential of the cardboard model as a thinking tool, as well as the subsequent collective, collaborative processes of creating sets and exhibitions for theatre, opera, dance, and visual art.

less good idea mentorship cardboard season 8

Theunissen began her long collaboration with William Kentridge in 2002 through Magic Flute (creation TRM 2005). Since then, she has designed sets for his opera productions, among which are The Nose (Met NYC 2010), Refuse the Hour (2012), The Refusal of Time (Documenta XIII -Kassel 2012), Winterreise (Vienna Festival, June 2014), Lulu (Met NYC, DNO, ENO 2015), Wozzec (Salzburg Festival 2017, Met NYC, Sydney Opera), The Head and the Load (Tate Modern 2018), and Waiting for the Sibyl (Rome, 2019). She also designed his art installations and exhibitions including Notes Towards a Model Opera (exhibition, Beijing, Seoul, 2015), No It Is (exhibition Gropius Bau, Berlin 2015), Thick Times (exhibition White Chapel-Louisiana-Salzburg-Manchester 2016), Smoke, Ashes, Fable (exhibition in Bruges 2017), O Sentimental Machine (exhibition in Frankfurt, Liebig Haus in 2018), Quelle che non ricordo (exhibition in Sydney, Adélaïde 2018), Why Should I Hesitate (exhibition in Zeitz MOCCA Cape Town 2019, Hamburg 2020), Un poème qui n’est pas le nôtre (exhibition in LAM-Lille, 2020), More Sweetly Play the Dance (exhibition in Mudam-Luxemburg, 2021).
     Based in Brussels, Theunissen is simultaneously working with other directors, choreographers, and curators. She is frequently invited to lecture and teach in art and architecture schools across Europe. In 2017, she created her own studio ‘Le Squatelier’ where she develops all her projects with her team, but also researches and creates experimental works. Theunissen is an ambassador and advisor of the UNITA program at Scenography Today.
     The Centre is inviting artists to submit an expression of interest. The expression should come in the form of a maximum one page motivation and five images that describe your practice. The mentorship will take place over the course of Season 8 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea and artists will be working on the final designs for artworks and performances within the Season. Season 8 is curated by Bongile Lecoge-Zulu and explores performance in response to the provocations of Breath and Mythologies.
     The online teaching seminars and Johannesburg based physical development workshops for the mentorship will take place between July and October 2021. For more information go to

Compulsory dates in 2021

Second half of September: Initial workshops
27 September – 11 October: Production/Dress/Tech rehearsals
13 – 17 October: Season 8 live performances
Those selected by a committee set up between The Centre for the Less Good Idea and UNITA will receive a basic honorarium which will also cover production costs.

Submit to with the subject line: Thinking in Cardboard Mentorship
Deadline for expression of interest: 18 June 2021

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