FATC TURNS 20 IN 2015
2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative. At this impressive milestone FATC takes a giant leap into the future with the establishment of its new rurally-based dance centre in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga. From this new space it will continue to produce extraordinary new work, roll out impactful outreach programs and host national and international residency exchange projects. FATC will however be keeping one foot planted in Johannesburg through its partnership with UJ Arts and Culture, where it remains the company in residence. From these two bases FATC will be leaving an impressive set of footprints: from the remote rural areas of South Africa – with its rural outreach projects, through its bustling metropolises – with cutting edge projects featuring in major cities, and all the way through the African continent and beyond. Things to watch out for in 2015 include: the brand new My Body My Space Festival;
Fana Tshabalala’s 12-counrty Africa tour of his work, Between Us, with fellow FATC angel Thulani Chauke – travelling to Namibia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Uganda, Djibouti, Sudan, Eritrea, Chad and Gabon; National and International residencies; and choreographic collaborations with the Geneva Ballet.
FATC’S RURAL DANCE CENTRE AND MPUMALANGA ARTS PROJECT (2015)
FATC’s brand new pioneering residency-centre will be established in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga. The Rural Dance Centre, to be established on the Sabbagha Family Farm, is poised to become a vital, unique and vibrant hub within the South African and international dance landscape that is dedicated to:
- Excellence in artistic research, practice and production
- Improved Access to arts education and arts practice for all
- Social transformation and the upliftment of Rural Communities
This rurally-based residency centre will become the home for the Mpumalanga Arts Project, the first MAJOR project to be implemented at the centre. The Mpumalanga Arts Project (MAP), which is made possible through NAC Flagship Project funding (2015) and a grant from RMB, will include the following activities:
- Regional Rural Outreach Projects
- A National CBO Leadership Programme
- International and National Residency Programmes for Young Artists
- Projects focused on the creation and development of Innovative Creative Productions
- The Dance Centre Hub dedicated to the establishment of networks that connect and engage artists from rural, national and international contexts to each other and to producers and platforms that disseminate work
MY BODY MY SPACE: Public Arts Festival 2015
From 2 – 7 February 2015 the My Body My Space festival erupted onto the streets and pavements of Katlehong, Thokoza, Wattville, Benoni and Daveyton for the first time. This public arts festival is co-ordinated by The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative and seeks to re-energize city spaces by taking arts happenings out of traditional performance spaces and onto the streets.
The 2015 festival was made up of an Arteries Programme – a series of flash mobs and arts installations that popped up throughout Ekurhuleni from 2 – 6 February, as well as a Main Programme on the 7th February. FATC-appointed facilitators worked with 60 community-based artists throughout January to create the flash mobs for the Arteries Programme. The Main Programme on the 7th February was a full day packed with dance, music, theatre and craft exhibitions at the OR Tambo Cultural Precinct in Wattville, Benoni. This programme featured work by a combination of Johannesburg’s top contemporary choreographers and dance companies, opera singers, community based artists and crafters. Participating choreographers, companies and artists included: Lucky Dance Theatre, The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, Vuyani Dance Theatre, Moving into Dance Mophatong, Sonia Radebe, Nadine Joseph, Kieron Jina, Tshego Khutsoane, Thoko Sibiya, Nicholas Aphane, Thabo Kobeli and Soraya Thomas.
The festival was made possible with the generous assistance and support of:
the Department of Arts and Culture: Mzansi Golden Economy; the city of Ekurhuleni’s Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture; the Gauteng Provincial Department of Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture; Splitbeam Gearhouse; UJ Arts and Culture; the French Institute of South Africa; Rand Merchant Bank; and Nedbank Arts and Culture Trust.
Arts sector partners included: Sibikwa, Moving into Dance Mophatong, Vuyani Dance Theatre, Lucky Dance Theatre, Via Katlehong, the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day and BUZ Publicity.
Click here to view the 2015 programme.
My Body My Space is due to become an annual event and a major part of FATC’s Gauteng programming.
2014 IN REVIEW:
H28: Love in a time of hammers (2014)
Zimbabwean choreographer, Mcintosh Jerahuni, UK director Melissa Eveleigh and composer Dave Carey collaborated with FATC to create H28: Love in a time of hammers, the lead dance production of the THATSOQUEER (#TSQ) Festival. H28 had three performances from 30 October to 1 November 2014 at the Con Cowan Theatre, University of Johannesburg.
H28 was created in memory of slain Ugandan Gay Rights Activist, David Kato, and drew on the personal experiences of the LGBTI community in Africa to tackle questions of tolerance and change.
H28 was made possible with generous financial assistance and support from RMB, Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council and Business and Arts South Africa. #TSQ was presented by UJ Arts & Culture in partnership with UJ LIBERATI, UJFM 95.4, Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA), the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) and WHAM! Mambaonline was the official media partner of #TSQ.
On 10 October 2014 Fana Tshabalala, co-Artistic Director of FATC, premiered his new solo creation, Man, in Marseilles, France. Tshabalala created the work in Residence at Klap, dance house of the French choreographer Michel Kelemenis. Tshabalala is no stranger to Klap – it is a space that has birthed many of his previous choreographic works. This new work, Man, questions the notion of the ideal man in contemporary society and looks specifically at how notions and roles of ‘Man-hood’ have been impacted by 20 years of freedom in the South African context. The work was performed on the 10th and 11th October 2014 at Klap, Marseilles, France and at Preljocaj’s Pavillion Noir, France on the 28th October.
INDUMBA in MOZAMBIQUE
The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative was invited to perform Fana Tshabalala’s entrancing Indumba at the Centro Cultural Franco-Mocambicano (CCFM), in Maputo, Mozambique between 11 – 15 September 2014. Indumba premiered at the 2013 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown as Tshabalala’s 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist Award commission. The invitation to perform Indumba in Mozambique created a full-circle for the work as the cleansing ceremonies performed by Mozambican war veterans after the country’s gruesome civil war were the initial inspiration for Tshabalala in making the piece. Tshabalala was interested in investigating the resonance these rituals had with South Africa’s own processes of healing via the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Indumba has enjoyed previous performances at the 2013 Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg and at the 2013 Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience.
Spring-Loaded was a ground-breaking mini-festival of contemporary dance that saw the collaboration of four of South Africa’s leading dance companies based in Gauteng: The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, Vuyani Dance Theatre, Moving into Dance Mophatong and Sibikwa Arts Dance Company.
This two-week festival, that ran from 7th to 16th August 2014 at the Con Cowan Theatre, University of Johannesburg, was not only a celebration of the diversity of the participating companies but a hugely successful example of the power of collaboration in trying times. The festival emerged as a response to the challenges faced by many professional dance companies in the current funding climate. Spring-Loaded was a reflection of the new strategies these companies are employing to ensure their continued survival. The central vision guiding the inception of this project was the initiation of a process of collaborative work between the companies that would build trusting and sustainable working relationships in a largely fractured sector.
Spring-Loaded was supported in part by RMB and Business Arts South Africa but was driven largely by the pooled resources of the collaborating companies: not only their choreographic resources, but their logistic and structural resources too.
The first week of the festival provided a platform for works by young artists from each of the companies. Coinciding with Women’s Day, on the 9th August, the works focused on issues facing women in contemporary South African society. Choreographers featured in this programme included: Yuhl Headman, Thulani Chauke, Sunnyboy Motau, Nadine Joseph, Thapelo Kotlolo, Lulu Mlangeni, Sbonakaliso Ndaba, Phumlani Nyanga, Oscar Buthelezi and Thoko Sidiya.
The second and final week involved the creation and performance of a collaborative work involving all the companies. The work was directed by FATC’s PJ Sabbagha and was created collaboratively by choreographers from each of the companies: Fana Tshabalala (FATC), Yuhl Headman (Sibikwa), Sunnyboy Motau (MID) and Shawn Motupi (VDT). The cornerstones of collaboration: trust, dialogue, openness and honesty formed the spring-board for the development of this new work entitled, Spring-Loaded. The result was an exuberant and ground-breaking work that featured all four companies on the stage at the same – an unprecedented occurrence – in a dance that vibrantly reflected the deep textures of the South African dance industry and magically held the potential of the collaborative exchange.
ENCUENTRO – ARGENTINIAN CULTURAL WEEK
In celebration of Argentinian Cultural Week FATC collaborated with Combinado Argentino de Danza (C.A.D) to create and perform Encuentro, a high-octane performance combining a range of kinetic languages ranging from contemporary dance to hip-hop, from street dance to Argentinian and South African folk dance. Live music by Argentinean DJ, Villa Diamante, accompanied Encuentro, which was performed in various public spaces across Johannesburg and Soweto on 25th and 26th July 2014. These public performance sites included: The Fountain Piazza, UJ, Kingsway Campus, Johannesburg; Forecourt, Soweto Theatre, Soweto; Cnr Bolani Road and Bolani Link; Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton; and Diepkloof Square, Diepkloof.
CARGO: Precious premiered on the Main Programme of the 2014 National Arts Festival and was a unique collaboration between 4 previous Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners: Sylvaine Strike (Theatre 2006), PJ Sabbagha (Dance 2005), Concorde Nkabinde (Jazz 2006) and Fana Tshabalala (2013).
The work was conceived and directed by Sylvaine Strike with the “aim of creating a new cutting edge South African work exploring Saartjie Baartman’s secret voyage.” After having researched the history surrounding the story of Baartman for 10 years Strike said she “imagined the one aspect of Saartjie’s journey that has never been recorded: her two month journey at sea from Cape Town to London in 1810, during which all that awaited her remained unknown, only manifesting as a seasick fantasy fuelled by the promise of an extraordinary future.” Strike describes the work as a “homage to all the women whose fragile journeys were never told, their feelings never heard and their dreams never realized.” The work was choreographed by Sabbagha and featured an original score by Nkabinde. FATC performers Nosiphiwo Samente, Charlie van Rooyen, Thami Majela, Thulani Chauke and Fana Tshabalala were joined by actors Daniel Buckland and William Harding in this visual feast designed by Sasha Ehlers.
CARGO: Precious was produced by Dance Forum in Collaboration with Fortune Cookie theatre and The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative. It was also performed at the 2014 Dance Umbrella as part of the Joburg City International Arts Alive Festival at the Market Theatre on 6th and 7th September 2014.
In 2014 FATC established a partnership with Pro Helvetia that facilitated the development of residency opportunities for Swiss artists and the increase of exchange possibilities for South African Artists. Through this initiative FATC enjoyed a collaboration with Swiss dance company, Da Motus, on the work …con tatto which was performed at the 2014 Infecting the City Festival in Cape Town, at the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg in March 2014 and at the CCFM in Maputo. …con tatto was a work created by Da Motus in 2009. It is a gentle meeting with audiences, a research of empathy, an enhancement of delicate corporal contact, and a reaction to the increasing feeling of fear and suspicion spreading in urban areas. The work uses a sensitive and playful approach, something that is not unfamiliar to FATC who relish in the world of improvisation and play. The collaborative product was a poignantly playful yet powerful site-specific work that played with an interaction between architecture and the audience.
CHARLOTTE HUG: SIYABA: FOUND AMONG TRANSLATION
An exciting international collaboration was born between Swiss Composer-Performer and Visual Artist Charlotte Hug and FATC during a two-week residency in February 2014. This was one of several projects in FATC’s 2014 calendar in which the company partnered with Pro Helvetia. This partnership hinged around creating residency and collaboration opportunities for Swiss artists, while simultaneously creating opportunities for exchange, networking and increased exposure for the South African arts community.
The collaboration between Hug and FATC delved into the fragility of relationships between people and explored the immediacy of those connections – revealing the invisible texts between people and artists, and the way in which relationships leave residues for our future selves to find. One of the key elements of this collaboration was the use of Hug’s Son-Icons. Son-Icons are ‘music to be seen’, they are paintings and drawings which are translated into dance and music. The Son-Icons helped to generate dialogue between these collaborators from different continents. Through the use of the Son-Icons, Viola, Voice and moving bodies this trans-disciplinary work attempted to awaken the somatic response and to create an inspiring fusion of aesthetics, providing a language between two different worlds.
Hug returns to continue this collaboration with FATC in February 2015. Their initial residency explorations will be developed into a new work: Siyaba: Found Among Translation, which will be performed in March at the Infecting the City Festival in Cape Town, and at the CCFM in Maputo, Mozambique. Hug and FATC will also be visiting Grahamstown for explorations with Rhodes-based artists at the start of their tour.
BLACK DOG – LIVE ART and sex actually festival
Thulani Chauke’s enigmatic solo, Black Dog, travelled to Cape Town for the 2014 Live Art Festival. He also performed the work at the annual Sex Actually Festival hosted by Drama for Life. The work was originally created while on a residency in France in 2013. Black Dog has been selected for a Goethe on Main residency in July 2015.
Fana Tshabalala’s hugely successful and widely toured duet, Between Us, enjoyed more performances in 2014 when it travelled to Germany, France and Tunisia. The work was originally created and performed alongside Thulani Chauke
BLACK – INFECTING THE CITY
PJ Sabbagha’s much-loved and visually beguiling work, Back, returned to be performed at the 2014 Infecting the City Festival in Cape Town. The work was originally created and performed as a duet for two female dancers: Dada Masilo and Lulu Mlangeni. Sabbagha has since re-interpreted the work several times. In 2013 he created a version performed in Russia by two male dancers Fana Tshabalala and Irven Teme. The Infecting the City performance provided Sabbagha with the opportunity to adapt it once more. This time the audience experienced Back as a quartet featuring FATC dancers Nosiphiwo Samente, Charlie van Rooyen, Irven Morapedi Teme and Thami Sylvester Majela.
FATC WINS SAAYC DREAMER BUILDERS AWARD
The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative is the proud recipient of the 2014 South African Association of Youth Clubs (SAAYC) Dreamer Builders Award for Arts and Culture. The company received the award in a ceremony on 21st February 2014 in recognition of its Extended Rural Outreach Programme, funded by RMB, BASA and the NAC. The award recognizes excellence within groups who exhibit the highest level of skills, performance and dedication to art. FATC’s Extended Rural Outreach Programme serviced a great number of youth groups who are members of SAAYC. The award validates FATC’s consistent commitment to the importance of arts education as demonstrated by its pioneering Extended Rural Outreach project.
EXTENDED RURAL OUTREACH PROGRAMME
FATC has continued to deepen the reach of its Community Outreach Programme. In 2014 through support from RMB and the NAC, FATC’s Extended Rural Outreach Programme has continued its skills development and mentorship of rurally based youth groups in Mpumalanga, the Free State and Limpopo – it also engaged a series of new groups and centres such as the Belfast Children’s Home where it taught all 156 of the children in the Home.
FATC looks forward to the implementation of the Mpumalanga Arts Project at its rurally based residency-centre in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga. Through the Rural Dance Centre it will be able to extend its rural outreach programme considerably, improving not only its reach but the quality of its outreach programmes.