For the 11th year running, a group of thespians joins forces to make their performance venue feel like ‘home’ for themselves and their audiences, for the 11 days of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
Twelve years ago, independent theatre makers Rob Murray and Jacqueline Dommisse met after a very hard Grahamstown that “had cost a lot of money and was very hard work”, and decided that there had to be a better way to do it, and that the only way was together! Their collaboration was the beginning of what is now known as ‘The Edge’ – a platform on the National Arts Festival Fringe that showcases innovative independent work and a collective spirit that is ‘a cut above the rest’. Hosted at the Princess Alice Hall on African Street, the venue is transformed into a place where old and new friends meet, and get something to eat or drink between shows.
Known previously as Cape Town Edge, the line-up expands this year to include Johannesburg-based productions, and encourage a sense of community between those artists based in different parts of the country.
“We’re also pleased to have two new hospitality partnerships on board this year,” explains Philip Rademeyer, 2017 Edge venue manager. “SAB has agreed to work with us in offering the kind of welcoming front of house experience that theatre patrons have come to expect at Princess Alice during the Festival, and we’re excited that local Makana entrepreneur Mlindi Nhanha will be offering a choice of hearty home-cooked meals at the venue!”
Wynne Bredenkamp, explains that theirs is a collective marketing effort, as well: “the Festival hustle for audiences is real, and sometimes it’s easier to talk to strangers on the street about someone else’s show, rather than your own; and in the same way, it’s great to have so many more people who can help to promote your show!” And yet, she’s well aware that even with this additional support, “it’s not easy… it’s just easier when you have support”.
To this end, the team co-ordinating The Edge this year (Tara Notcutt, Philip Rademeyer, Wynne Bredenkamp) gratefully acknowledge the support they’ve received from the Arts & Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity, South African Breweries, and their Thundafund backers; who have bought into their vision.