A division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the Arts & Culture department is gearing up to present another exciting programme set to appeal to audiences with diverse sensibilities.
“Few things in life is as passion-driven as the practice and enjoyment of the arts. Creativity is not the preserve of artists alone. The arts form the social fibre of our nation and deserve to be elevated and nurtured as part of the holistic human experience,” says Head of UJ Arts & Culture, Pieter Jacobs.
“It is rare for students from across a university to have access to participate in the arts in the way they are able to do at UJ. Generally, these opportunities are exclusively reserved for students registered for undergraduate courses in the arts. UJ takes the holistic development of its students seriously and recognises the value of student engineers, teachers, accountants, economists, and many more, developing the soft skills required to thrive in the ever-changing world,” he continues.
Over the past 14 years, UJ Arts & Culture has earned its spot as one of the key role players on the arts and entertainment landscape and prides itself on numerous awards. In 2018, this legacy continued with UJ Choir being crowned world champions in the Folk Music category at the World Choir Games while its student production Choir Boy received an Encore Award at the National Arts Festival as well as a nod for best student production by the South African Theatre Magazine. Its flagship interdisciplinary project that involves more than 300 FADA students received nine Broadway South Africa awards for its rendition of Reza De Wet’s African Gothic.
Through the UJ Arts Academy a range of free opportunities to develop creative skills are made available to students, staff and alumni. A key component of the Arts Academy is the 66-member UJ Choir. Other music opportunities offered include the UniJoh Chorale, Jazz Band, Drumming Group and Orchestra. Dance classes in latin, ballroom, ballet, hip hop, afro-fusion and contemporary dance are offered as well as acting classes and poetry sessions.
UJ Arts & Culture hosts University events and external events including large meetings, strategic breakaways, conferences, lectures, concerts, festivals and theatre productions at its venues. Facilities operated include the Art Centre on the Kingsway Campus with a 428-seater Theatre, an 18-seater conference room and two studios; the Experimental Theatre, also on the Kingsway Campus, is a flexible space primarily used for and by students; and the 180-seater Con Cowan Theatre with adjacent studios is based on the Bunting Road Campus. Venue bookings for 2019 and 2020 is currently open.
The 2019 #FollowYourHeART programme includes an exhibitions programme, a stand-up comedy series, theatre and dance seasons, a music concert series, UJ Weekend of Jazz, UJ Youth Arts Festival and the Izimbongi Poetry Festival:
#LoveYourHeART Exhibitions Programme
A partnership with the Embassy of Brazil will see UJ Art Gallery host Rodrigo Petrella’s photo exhibition, Mekaron, in February. Following Farieda Nazier’s 2018 PhD residency at UJ Arts & Culture, Post Present Future, will be hosted at the Apartheid Museum and the popular PPC Imaginarium will return to the University’s Gallery in April. Curating the Cube is a 21-year retrospective exhibition, reflecting on Curator Annali Dempsey’s tenure at the Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit and then UJ after its amalgamation. Yannis Generalis’ solo exhibition will be followed by another 21-year celebration presented by the Ampersand Foundation. South African heavyweight Diane Victor’s solo exhibition will be followed by a collaborative showcase comprising works of both the UJ and MTN art collections.
#ListenToYourHeART Music Concert Series
Kicking off the series is the popular South African songstress, Anna Davel in collaboration with the Bruckner University Big Band, followed by the avant-garde duo, La Musa, from Vienna. UJ Choir will join forces with South African gem, Gloria Bosman and will tour to Potchefstroom, Nelspruit and Sasolburg and will mark the end of the year with its customary Celebration Concert. The UniJoh Chorale will present a Mother’s Day concert and participate in the City of Johannesburg Choral Festival. The music programme will end on a high note with the hugely popular gala fundraiser, A Grand Night for Singing, in support of the Dean’s Bursary Fund.
#CelebrateYourHeART Festivals Programme
UJ Arts & Culture’s urban music offering, UJ Weekend of Jazz, will return in 2019 as well as the UJ Youth Arts Festival and the Izimbongi Poetry Festival. UJ Arts & Culture’s offering at the National Arts Festival will include Kafka’s Metamorphosis adapted for the stage by Steven Berkoff, directed by Alby Michaels with Khutjo Green, Ameera Patel, William Harding and Craig Morris as well as a new one-man production developed in residence, iNDUKU. UJ Arts Academy students will present the classic, Lord of the flies, under guidance of debut-director Ayanda Bulose.
#MakeYourHeART Theatre and Dance Seasons
Out the Box Comedy, presented in partnership with POPArt and Goliath and Goliath, is a series of stand-up comedy shows leading up to Out the Box Comedy Special, bringing together some of South Africa’s funniest comedians to the Art Centre Theatre in October.
The theatre line-up includes seasons of Metamorphosis, iNDUKU and Lord of the flies.
Let the right one in, an ambitious project undertaken as part of the FADA interdisciplinary project, will enjoy a development run in October. Moving into Dance will be hosted at the UJ Art Centre Theatre for two weeks bringing the company’s 40th year celebrations to a close. This will be followed by an international collaboration between Tribhangi Dance Theatre and a UK-based dance company.
#LiveYourHeART Residency Programme
Right of Admission, a collaborative work between Alberta Whittle and Farieda Nazier, will be developed in residence at UJ Arts & Culture during 2019. Performance Artist, Kieron Jina, will create a new piece entitled Rise of the African Queer Deities and Ayabonga Makanya, a new creative voice, will collaborate with award-winning director and UJ Arts & Culture Production Manager, Jade Bowers, on iNDUKU.
For more information visit UJ Arts & Culture website and venue booking system at www.uj.ac.za/arts.