The Olive Tree Theatre relaunches on Freedom Day to celebrate the anniversary of freedom for black people in South Africa, in a fresh and innovative way.
Freedom, inkululeko, tokoloho, ntshuxeko, kgololo, is the stuff that dreams are made of. The ability to exercise freedom is the capacity to imagine beyond one’s given reality. And, this is the work of the creative artist: to create a reality from the magic of dreams. Umsebenzi wethu eOlive Tree Theatre ukusebenzisa nokusubenzela inkululeko yethu. Siyazikhumbuza njalo ukuthi inkululeko yethu isezandleni zethu. Umsebenzi kufanele siwenzile ukuze amaphupho afezeke.
The Olive Tree Theatre was born from the dream of one womxn, Ntshieng Mokgoro. Aus’ Ntshieng became the Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre in 2009; without ever having formal training. She worked at her talent and dreamed further. Her aspirations led to the creation of the Womxn’s Theatre Festival and the opening of the Olive Tree Theatre in 2012.
The space’s story is one of womxn coming together to nurture their art and their community. The Olive Tree Theatre is a place where seeds grow into trees that grow more trees, bearing further fruit. With Nondumiso Lwazi Msimanga as the new artistic director, OTT is growing its reach into alternative creative practices. Nondumiso seeks work that reaches into its community and works with its existing black excellence. Together they believe in the abundance of talent in the black community, in the township, and that womxn should be at the forefront of the growth of the theatre industry; and not at its fringes. Their desire is that we all continue to create alternative spaces for the fringe to take its place centre stage.
Just as the symbol of the olive tree has multiple meanings of triumph, abundance, peace, health, and wealth; the Olive Tree Theatre is a space for multiplicity. Excellence and innovation is the mandate. OTT is looking for the work of big dreamers who put real work to their dreams. OTT is a space for the celebration of freedom and the many possibilities of the future of black spaces. It is a theatre for those who challenge what disconnects Africa and celebrate what connects all African people. Nondumiso says, ‘OTT launches on Freedom Day, because we believe in our inherent freedom as a people and that this freedom finds its greatest life through its expression in art. Art is the ultimate exercise of freedom. Performance is the ultimate freedom.’
‘The Olive Tree Theatre is a space to explore all our freedoms’, Nondumiso says. She believes, ‘It is a space to challenge the expression of those freedoms. It is a space to celebrate how free we are despite our daily challenges.’
OTT looks forward to sharing its new space with you on Freedom Day.