Arts festival focuses on youth creativity

Brenda Sakellarides

From 4 – 8 March, youth arts will be in the spotlight when the NSA’s Festival of the Arts takes to the NSA and Joburg Theatre stages.

  NSA principal Mr Natali said: “Pushing the boundaries of youth creativity, the 19th Annual NSA Festival offers a diverse line-up of performances, exhibitions, guest productions, workshops, and installations. We curate the festival with high school learners in mind. It is the major showcase event for the school and our learners always rise to the occasion in an awe-inspiring way.”

  Flagship productions of the 2020 Festival include Hip Hop Hamlet. Set in the bank of Elsinore where “something is very rotten” Hip Hop Hamlet holds a stark “mirror up to nature” as it reflects corporate and political corruption, greed, and political manoeuvring.

  Hip Hop Hamlet comes from the same NSA Directorial team of Laine Butler and Johan Anker, who reimagined A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2019) and Macbeth (2018). Joining the creative team as choreographer is NSA alumni Cinda Eatock, who brings a wealth of theatre experience. Set and lighting are by veteran designer Stan Knight.

  Martha Graham’s evocative quote, “Dance is the Hidden Language of the Soul,” is the creative springboard for Hidden Language, which features a spectrum of dance styles including ballet, neo-classical, contemporary, and Spanish. This dance showcase sees guest choreographers Sean Bovim (ballet) and Sunnyboy Motau (Afro-Fusion) joining NSA dance teachers Gillian Bonegio (Spanish) Laura Cameron (Contemporary), Heather Dreyer (Neo-classical), and Yusuf Thomas (Contemporary) in revealing the “hidden language.”

  Joining the professionals are top student choreographers from 2019; Hannah Dludla (Grade 11), and Ashley Magutshwa (Grade 12) whose works feature in the line-up of Hidden Language.

  A guest production on the festival programme is Eclipsed Phifalo Ya Ngwedi from the Market Lab. The production was workshopped with Market Theatre Laboratory first-year students.

  The creative team includes director Sylvaine Strike, voice and text specialist Gina Shmukler, and choreographer Phumlani Mndebele. This research-based production exposes the horrific mental health care ‘genocide’ that became known as the Life Esidimeni Tragedy. Eclipsed is a necessary conversation about the unspeakable.

  This production will play in the Lesedi Theatre at Joburg Theatre and will stir hearts and minds into consciousness.

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