The curtain rises on the NSA Festival of the Arts

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The NSA Festival of the Arts takes to the stages of the Joburg Theatre and the National School of the Arts from Tuesday 6 – Sunday 11 March 2018.

The curtain rises on the NSA Festival of The Arts
The curtain rises on the NSA Festival of The Arts

“The Festival of the Arts at NSA is a heart-warming reflection of the power of art to transform and shift boundaries. I am exceptionally proud of our NSA learners. The dedication, hard work and devotion to their craft is what makes NSA learners successful,” commented Mr Gary Natal, proud Principal of The National School of the Arts – South Africa’s Leading school of specialisation in Performing & Creative Arts.

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The Wiz: Lesedi Masheane as Scarecrow, Angella Mulaudzi as Dorothy, Tsepho Skosana as Tin Man and Nkosi Mnisi as Lion (Photo credit: Essie Esterhuisen).
The Wiz: Lesedi Masheane as Scarecrow, Angella Mulaudzi as Dorothy, Tsepho Skosana as Tin Man and Nkosi Mnisi as Lion (Photo credit: Essie Esterhuisen).

Headlining the Festival is The Wiz. This heart-warming up-beat, family musical is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz set to a soulful, gospel R&B score. Audiences will leave The Joburg Theatre with a song in the heart rejoicing along with the four unlikely friends; Dorothy, the Tinman, the Scarecrow and the Lion who have found conviction and self-belief along the Yellow Brick Road.

The Wiz will be on the Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre from Friday 9 – Sunday 11 March.

Thuli Sibisi, Siphelele Mbatha and Buhle Ntusi in Macbeth.
Thuli Sibisi, Siphelele Mbatha and Buhle Ntusi in Macbeth.

The Drama Department presents an Afro-Punk Macbeth set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic South Africa. Directed by Laine Butler and Johan Anker and running at 90 minutes, Macbeth will transform The Fringe Theatre at The Joburg Theatre into a landscape of power struggles and corruption. It features the senior drama learners of the NSA.

Macbeth will be on the Fringe Theatre Stage at Joburg Theatre from 6 – 9 March.

Guided and mentored by Malcolm Purkey, one of South Africa’s finest theatre-makers and crafters of South African stories, I Love Jozi explores the narratives of Joburg, both fictional and biographic. I Love Jozi opens an impactful window onto the city of golden opportunities from the perspective of the youth. Playing in The Fringe Theatre, I Love Jozi features the current Grade 10 drama learners of the NSA. This appealing work is vintage SA theatre-making in action.

I Love Jozi plays in The Fringe at Joburg Theatre from 7 – 9 March.

Dear Brain, the winner of the Original Works Festival 2017, will also be showcased during the Festival of the Arts. This thought-provoking imaginative work explores the complex workings of the brain. In a surreal landscape we witness a conversation between the teenager’s mind and brain. Dear Brain features Mila Brkic and Danijela Cook who also wrote and directed the play.

Dear Brain plays in Space.com at Joburg Theatre from 7 – 10 March.

With support from the US Consulate in Johannesburg, the NSA Festival is proud to present special screenings of A Ballerina’s Tale – The Incredible Rise of Misty Copeland. David Fear of the Rolling Stone Magazine wrote of the movie, “Inspirational doesn’t begin to describe it.” Misty Copeland defied all stereotypes and limiting perceptions to become the first African American prima ballerina in the American Ballet Theatre. Her journey well capsulated in one of her many motivational quotes, “You can start late, look different, be uncertain and still succeed,” promises to resonate with young South African audiences.

There will be daily screenings of this film in The Mandela Theatre at Joburg Theatre from Wednesday 7 – Sunday 11 March

The NSA Hall will be a dedicated dance venue during the NSA Festival of the Arts. The school is delighted to host Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MID) during their 40th Anniversary year. MID will present Sunnyboy Motau’s Man Longing which looks at the dark and sinister world of human trafficking. Man Longing will share the bill with Trafficked conceptualized and choreographed by NSA alumnus Yusuf Thomas for his final TUT choreographic project. With the support of the National Freedom Network, the Festival of the Arts will also exhibit A Reality Unseen, a story board curated by photojournalist Melanie Hamman-Doucakis to raise awareness about the realities of human trafficking.

Performances take place daily in the NSA Hall from 7 – 9 March.

MIDM Company in Man-Longing by Sunnyboy Motau. Photo by John Hogg.
MIDM Company in Man-Longing by Sunnyboy Motau. Photo by John Hogg.

The NSA Festival of the Arts is also proud to be a part of Dance Umbrella 30 Years On. Three NSA choreographers will have their work showcased during Dance Umbrella’s New Dance Programme at Wits Theatre on Sunday, March 11. The Festival of the Arts will also host the new work titled Men by Fana Tshabalala and Vladimir Ippolitov at The Fringe on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 March. The Festivals run concurrently, and the NSA salutes Dance Umbrella on the occasion of their 30th Anniversary.

The Joburg Theatre Truck will provide a platform for the lunch-hour music concerts on the field. There will also be mime and clowning workshops, an improv and comedy showcase, as well as an art exhibition featuring NSA learners’ work.

The National School of the Arts partners with ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children & Young People) in curating and presenting the professional productions that are featured on the Festival of the Arts programme. The 2018 Festival includes Season of Simplicity, The Snow Goose, Tracks and Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny.

A Season of Simplicity features the inspiring work of Gladys Agulhas who has spent a career striving for inclusivity and the meaningful integration of dancers of varying ability into the mainstream world of dance and performing arts. “‘Can’t’ is dead in my class! It’s about ‘what if?’ Dance is the mirror reflecting that the impossible just might be possible,” says Agulhas. In recognition of her achievements she received the Tunkie Award in 2011 and the Presidential Order of Ikhamanga in 2012.

“A Season of Simplicity; Same kind of difference, but still the same” runs in the NSA Hall from 7 – 10 March.

Paul Gallico’s novella The Snow Goose has been adapted for the stage by James Cairns, Taryn Bennet and director Jenine Collocott and tells the story of a young girl Frith and a reclusive hunchback Philip Rhayader. Set against the backdrop of the second world war and the miracle of Dunkirk, The Snow Goose, is a moving story about bravery, love, courage, and friendship.

Tarryn Bennet & James Cairns in The Snow Goose directed by Jenine Collocot.
Tarryn Bennet & James Cairns in The Snow Goose directed by Jenine Collocot.

The Snow Goose runs in the NSA Drama Theatre from 7 – 10 March.

Tracks (excerpts), written and performed by Maude Sandham, is an autobiographical story that deals with the complexities of identity, race and the colour bar in Apartheid South Africa. This human-interest story “beautifully told holds the audience spellbound”.

Tracks runs in Space.com at Joburg Theatre from 7 – 10 March.

Craig Morris plays the title role in the one-man epic poem – Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny. Written by Greig Coetzee using rhyming couplets, the play reflects a life that doesn’t rhyme anymore. Johnny is striving to fit in. He is on the road looking for love, redemption, an AK47 and the quickest way out of Secunda. “Thank you for including Johnny in this year’s inaugural programme as the new Festival of the Arts!” said Morris.

Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny runs from 7 – 10 March in the NSA Drama Theatre.

Formerly known as the Festival of Fame, The NSA Festival of the Arts is a highlight showcase event of the first quarter of the academic year and is made possible through a grant from the RMB Fund and the National Lotteries Commission.

A day at the festival will offer a unique experience of arts and culture, instilling and nurturing a love for all things creative; educating, entertaining and encouraging reflection.

Tickets from R80 for a full day pass to all shows (R70 for school block bookings) and R100 for evening and weekend shows at The Joburg Theatre. Book at www.joburgtheatre.com or 0861 670 670.

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