Com­pelling drama, sooth­ing mu­sic un­der coura­geous fes­ti­val di­rec­tor

The Star Early Edition - - INSIDE -

pro­fes­sional world af­ter cam­pus life.

How­ever, she is also mind­ful of the pre­car­i­ous ex­is­tence artists are ex­posed to.

“Artists are the van­guard of so­ci­ety. But they are of­ten con­fronted with the chal­lenges of de­riv­ing de­cent liveli­hoods from their art. Lack of fi­nan­cial sup­port is a con­stant prob­lem. As arts ad­min­is­tra­tors, we have the moral and pro­fes­sional re­spon­si­bil­ity to open op­por­tu­ni­ties for artists.”

An an­nual arts fes­ti­val that show­cases world-class pro­duc­tions is def­i­nitely one sig­nif­i­cantly po­tent way of open­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for South African tal­ent.

With its di­verse the­atri­cal and mu­si­cal ap­peal, the Wits 969 Fes­ti­val is an im­por­tant an­nual event on the coun­try’s artis­tic cal­en­dar.

Pro­duc­tions that I look for­ward to watch­ing in­clude Hani and Pop iCherry, cre­ations of stu­dents at the Mar­ket The­atre Lab­o­ra­tory based on Chris Hani’s life, and the pol­i­tics of vir­gin­ity, re­spec­tively.

Mike van Graan’s new play, He­len of Troyeville – based on life in con­tem­po­rary South Africa – is an­other high­light of this fes­ti­val. Once more the award-win­ning play­wright has teamed up with young di­rec­tor Lesedi Job, win­ner of the So­phie Mgcina Emerg­ing Voice Award (2017).

Last year, their play­wright/di­rec­tor part­ner­ship de­lighted the­atre-lovers with the stag­ing of When Swal­lows Cry at The Mar­ket The­atre.

“The di­ver­sity of this year’s fes­ti­val, fea­tur­ing dance, mu­sic, the­atre and com­edy, is ex­cit­ing, with a great bal­ance be­tween both main and fringe entries.

“We are also de­lighted to be fea­tur­ing so many Stan­dard Bank Young Artist win­ners. They bring fresh tal­ent and dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives to the the­atre scene,” con­cludes Pather.

MAK­ING WAVES: 969 di­rec­tor Gita Pather.

WALL­FLOW­ERS: A scene from the Mar­ket The­atre Lab­o­ra­tory play, Pop iCherry.

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