South Africa: Joburg Arts Alive heads to the National Arts Festival

By Own Correspondent – For the first time in its 19-year history, the Joburg Arts Alive International Festival will have a significant presence at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (NAF). 

The most visible manifestation of this is the participatory public artwork, ‘Tomorrow’s Joy’, which was commissioned by the City and created during the 2010 Joburg Arts Alive International Festival and which will once again be erected at the National Arts Festival. 

‘Tomorrow’s Joy” is a spectacular eco-conscious public artwork measuring 7 x 14m and weighing 246kg. It is made up of over 90 000 discarded plastic bottle tops, taking 10 weeks to produce and involving 8 community centres, 140 children, 30 disabled adults, and 31 crafters. Such Initiative, a Johannesburg-based company, managed this project.  It was launched at Mary Fitzgerald Square, in Newtown Johannesburg, on 17 September 2010 where it was on view for one month, making mainstream news on  

Steven Sack, Director Arts, Culture and Heritage for the City of Joburg, will attend the festival and present the City of Joburg’s new theatre in Soweto to arts practitioners in Grahamstown.  

The Soweto Theatre is due for completion later in 2011 and will open its doors for performances early in 2012.  It will be used extensively as a venue for the 2012 Joburg Arts Alive International Festival.  

We are very excited about what we believe is the first publicly funded theatre to be built since 1994,” Sack says. 

The Theatre is open from 2012, so it’s appropriate for us to go down to the biggest gathering of theatre practitioners in the country and let them know about The Soweto Theatre and its magnificent three venues.” 

Indeed, the presentation of The Soweto Theatre at the NAF will further cement a relationship between the Joburg Arts Alive International Festival and the festival that has always flourished through the 969 Festival. The latter is a festival within Arts Alive that sees several of the top productions from the NAF play on stages at Wits University throughout September when Arts Alive takes place.  

Sack himself will be presenting a workshop as part of the NAF’s daily series of one hour workshops titled: Hands On! Masks Off!. The latter sees established arts professionals like Sack share their knowledge and expertise with a growing industry of newly emerging arts managers.  

“We are very excited about the potential that exists to connect with actors, producers, directors and others at the National Arts Festival and hope that many of those at the festival take the time out to see the bottle-top mosaic,” says Sack.