Compelling drama, soothing music under courageous festival director
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.