Young minds shared in exchange programme

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Sixteen young women are currently benefiting from a theatre exchange programme involving South Africans and Swedish thespians.

The National Community Theatre for Education and Development Network is hosting this ground-breaking community theatre cultural exchange with their Swedish counterparts from ATR (Unga Teater Natet), an alliance that works for the freedom of artistic expression.

Loosely called The North Meet South, for fifteen days 16 young women aged between 18 to 25 from all nine provinces and Sweden, will share their experiences. The exchange programme runs until August 21.

The participants are given the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and learn from each other in their respective genres of the arts. Also about challenges facing women in a global perspective, with the hope of empowering them to act and influence their situation for the better.

Programme organisers say this exchange is also aimed at generating innovative ways of giving women a platform to tell their stories, instead of them passing on men's voices to deal with women's issues.

The exchange seeks to deal with issues concerning one of the most important subjects globally - gender equality. Young women in theatre and the arts are still subjected to harassment, discrimination and bigotry; like many women they are treated as second best in every sphere of life.

Sweden and South Africa have the same predicament where women are only recognised as actresses and not as directors and writers, especially in the mainstream, the organisers say.

The collaboration of young women in an arts cultural exchange follows the Southern Africa Women In Theatre workshops hosted by the Southern African Theatre Initiative in Cape Town last year.