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Thursday, March 11, 2021


The ground-breaking 2021 My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival (MBMS) was officially launched on January 29.

The 2021 MBMS festival, curated by The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC), and funded by The National Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and The National Arts Council (NAC), brings over 80 new works to audiences via a dedicated WhatsApp line.

Audiences are able to access this free festival by sending just the word ‘HI’ to +27600110444 and following the menu prompts that will instantly be delivered to their phones. Through the festival’s Public Arts mandate of taking art to where people are, audiences will be able to engage with the festival through their mobile devices wherever they are, and whenever they like.

MBMS Artistic Director, PJ Sabbagha, shared the intention of the festival, particularly within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: “We hope that through the festival and its glimpse into the realities others are living at this moment, we are able to find a moment of shared humanness against the backdrop of this COVID reality.”

The 2021 MBMS programme includes performances, workshops and arts education experiences that have been curated under the menus of: Body, Space and Interactive. Audiences are invited to explore the WhatsApp line and discover the art created by South African and international artists by navigating these menus. Historically, the MBMS festival has always plotted a route along which the audience travelled through public spaces in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga, discovering the art works along the way.

However, in this digital iteration of the festival, the audience gets to choose how they navigate the menus and discover the work. The audience drives their own festival experience as all the art content is available on the line from the launch date until the end of March. The audience therefore decides what to view and when to view it. To assist viewers in locating specific works directly, without having to navigate the menus, there is also a short cut programme that can be downloaded from the line.

MBMS21 has adopted a playful yet evocative approach to the curation of the festival menus that, as with previous iterations of the festival, invite the audience to consider their own bodies or how they move through space while engaging the festival. The Body menu, for instance, invites audiences to either be still or moving while watching the works, to view the works alone or together with others. The festival’s curatorial focus also hopes to retain its capacity of giving audiences a window into other lived realities. The works featured in the Space menu have been curated according to the spaces or locations in which they have been set or filmed in, so audiences get to choose to view works set in rural spaces or towns, in public or private spaces. Artistic Director, PJ Sabbagha, states, “It’s amazing how such an ephemeral thing, a performance, a moment of making and creating, connects us so materially to each other’s realities, it opens our hearts, minds and bodies to each other.”

The Interactive menu also provides audiences with the opportunity to get involved: to participate, engage or interact through workshops, arts education activities and creative calls to actions.

For more information about MBMS follow on:

Facebook: My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival

IG: fa_theatrecollaborative