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COMMUNITY theatre will this year have a significant presence at the Arts Alive festival.
Later this month and in September the Southern African Theatre Initiative, in partnership with Arts Alive, will roll out the Arts Alive Alternative Spaces programme aimed at creating a platform for community theatre practitioners to share and exchange their work.
Dubbed Alternative Spaces, the idea is to convert spaces such as community halls, churches and parks into theatres with a stage, lights, sound and other features synonymous with theatre.
The project kicks off with performances at Diepsloot from August 28 to August 30. Alexandra will also have a chance to host this innovative theatre showpiece from September 4 to September 6.
Soweto will host it from September 11 until September 13 and Orange Farm will host from September 18 to September 20.
A group will be chosen from each region to perform in the main festival at the Market Theatre Laboratory from September 25 to September 27.
The objective is to revive the culture of township theatre, made popular by legends such as Gibson Kente and others who performed in churches and community halls.
This form of theatre was very popular in the early 1960s to early 1980s of anti-apartheid, when black productions were made mainstream in theatres such as the Market Theatre, and the State theatre.
While this was a positive for black producers, black audiences were neglected and were not able to experience professional theatre in their own "underdeveloped" spaces in the township, the organisers say.