Breaths of Joburg took to the streets of Johannesburg last week in the form of a theatre work performed for young audiences, produced by UJ Arts & Culture and the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS).
Created by the acclaimed Jade Bowers (director), Lebo Mashile and Tina Redman (performers) and Yogin Sullaphen (musician), Breaths of Joburg uses poetry, movement, spoken word, storytelling, music and play to explore the joys and difficulties of Johannesburg in all its complexity.
The site-specific work, staged outside the Windybrow Arts Centre, was inspired by three original pieces of short form creative writing by Zandile Dube, Lerato Mahlangu and Teneal Naidoo, the winners of the Set in Joburg writing competition run by UJ Arts & Culture and JIAS at the end of 2022.
Breaths of Joburg is part of a larger public art as research project, a collaborative endeavour between UJ Arts & Culture, JIAS and Malmö University, Sweden; with Alex Halligey as lead researcher for The University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with Anders Høg-Hansen for Malmö University.
The project considers creative writing and site-specific theatre as tools for engaging the urban public in a dialogue about experiences of everyday, ground-up place-making in city spaces.
In keeping with UJ and Malmö University’s promotion of internationalisation, Breaths of Joburg, and the broader research project it is part of, is invested in connecting the human, micro-moments, specific to the city of Joburg, to both universities’ global networks of students, scholars, artists, art-lovers and civil society activists.
Audiences can experience various online, post-performance, engagements in the form of videos and live streams, through social media and online meeting platforms.