Working towards equity in theatre

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Limpopo artists are expected to speak their minds during a South African Theatre Initiative theatre indaba.

The indaba will take place in Polokwane this weekend. Last weekend it was held in KwaZulu-Natal.

The indabas are a part of the national consultative process on theatre and dance, a South African Theatre initiative supported by the Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and Business Arts South Africa.

Each provincial meeting, attended by individuals, non-governmental organisations, theatres and government representatives, will elect a committee to take their concerns and suggestions to a national indaba where they will come up with recommendations for the DAC.

In KwaZulu-Natal, concerns were raised about artists struggling to survive. A theatre laboratory for developmental work was also mooted.

Linda Bukhosini, chief executive of the Playhouse Company, said: "Whatever fears or divisions there are, there is beauty in diversity."

She added that there was abundant talent in the province, particularly in singing and traditional dancing, but lack of funding was hindering progress.

Edmund Mhlongo spoke about the success of the Ekhaya Multi Art Centre, which aspires to be a model for the arts at community level and has effectively used creative arts to put KwaMashu on the map.

"Before, you only heard about crime, now you hear about art projects.

"Art is about life and identity and is a symbol of social development. It should be part of people's everyday lifestyle," he said.

Veteran actor, writer and director Vivian Moodley said: "When I first started out, we used the arts as a weapon - the cultural workers' resistance to apartheid. It was very, very powerful and some of it has been forgotten.

"We need to use the weapon to free us again, as we seem to be retrogressing. A lot of good work is being done and we need to get it out there."