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Thursday, April 28, 2011


KZN’s Ishashalazi Women’s Theatre Festival to appear in ACT programme.

The Board of Trustees of the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) has approved nine festivals for support through the ACT Festivals Programme.

Included in the programme is the Ishashalazi Women’s Theatre Festival. Launched in 2008, this Festival is aimed at female performing artists in KwaZulu-Natal. Ten short drama pieces of approximately 30 minutes each are presented at the festival which is scheduled to take place from August 25 to 28, 2011.

“ACT recognises how increasingly powerful the FESTIVAL space has become in South Africa. It is of great value for our young participants and future creative entrepreneur’s to be exposed to not just the high level artistry of the work, but to be made aware of how the basic economy of a festival works. Enabling the participation of young under-resourced artists and learners in diverse festivals across the country promises to fuel creative and entrepreneurial dreams in going forward,” comments Brenda Devar, Chairperson of the Trust.

The ACT Festivals Programme is sponsored by Breadline Africa (BLA), an African-based charity organisation which aims to help break the cycle of poverty within Africa. The Festivals Programme makes funding available to assist organisers to extend their programmes by subsidising the participation of artists, performers and groups from peri-urban and rural areas who may not otherwise be able to participate.

The festivals selected for support include KZN’s Ishashalazi Women’s Theatre Festival as well as the Back to the City Urban Youth Festival in Johannesburg; The Cape Town International Guitar Youth Festival; the Market Laboratory’s Community Theatre Youth Festival; the Family Season of Performances in the Western Cape; as well as HRMC at NAF.

Regarding the latter, for the past 27 years, high school students in Denmark have given a day of their education to raise funds for educational projects in the developing world. Representatives of Operation Dagsværk visited South Africa in 2005 and based on their research, decided to spend the funds they raised to benefit vulnerable youth on the Cape Flats. The project trained youth as oral historians and media practitioners to tell their life stories in a book and exhibition. The project took three years, from 2008 to 2010, to produce a 354 paged book titled Edge of the Table - Fourteen Cape Flats Youth tell their life stories and the multi-media travelling exhibition consisting of 14 installations based on the stories. The book will be launched and exhibited as part of the Fringe Wordfest at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Also included is the SA Schools Festivals Series which currently presents 11 festivals around the country in eight regions with more than 47 productions, 150 workshops and 18 lectures. Costs directly related to facilitating the participation of previously disadvantaged learners who find difficulty in raising funds in order to attend the festivals are subsidized by the grant from ACT.

Other festivals are the Open Book Cape Town annual literary festival and the Out The Box International Festival of Puppetry & Visual Performance directed by Janni Younge and Yvette Hardie, taking place in Cape Town.

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier, independent arts and culture funding and development agency. Internationally acclaimed South African playwright, Athol Fugard, is the Patron of the Trust. For more information visit