FTH:K – as seen through Belgian eyes

Posted: May 28, 2010 in Industry Thoughts, Training

You may or may not know that we have a number of interns that pass through FTH:K annually. As with anything, some are better than others! Some take the work very seriously and get involved in everything, eternally asking questions (Sulo!); some use the time to party their way through Cape Town, stopping on for the odd visit (Max!); some find what they need – just not in FTH:K (Maggie!); and some come to get as sunburnt as possible (Flore!)!! Ok, ok, that’s not all Flore did while with us. In fact, she was great. Coming from Brussels, she was put in touch with us by one of our most awesome funders, Africalia, as a case study in the writing of her thesis entitled: “When Culture Becomes Development – Evaluation of Cultural Projects In Development Aid”. Sounds serious, no? Well, she was serious about it but not at the expense of enjoying Cape Town as fully as possible. In fact, she was so cool that she fitted right into the FTH:K family from the get-go.  Anyway, this post is not to wax lyrical about our various interns (we love you all!) but to share with you some of her thoughts on spending time with us:

“My FTH:K adventure started in 2009, at the Grahamstown Festival. On Wednesday the 8th of July at 18:00, I saw ‘Pictures of you’. How I still know this so detailed? Because I still carry the entrance ticket with me… I have this strange little habit to carry the littlest nicest things of life close with me…. ‘Pictures of you’ touched me, in many ways. It was inspiringly performed, surprisingly detailed, wonderfully made. If I say it was the best performance I saw at the festival it is not because Tanya is holding my hands here while I’m typing. I say it, because I really mean it!

The second part of the adventure started while I was searching for a thesis/case study partner. Because I chose this difficult subject to explain ‘The problem of evaluating cultural/artistic programs in development cooperation’ (‘Could you repeat that please? The problem of … ?’ ), I needed a partner to clarify things a bit, a partner which I could join a period of time, to see how they work and especially what and how they evaluate this work. And there they are again, the masters of clowning appear for the second time in my story! At the end of March 2010 I changed my Moroccan neighbourhood of Schaarbeek for a place with a much cooler name, namely ‘Woodstock’ and left my home city of Brussels for the mother city of South Africa, Cape Town (oh sorry, or is it ‘Ciep Tiawn’, like they scream on the minibuses?)!

On a sunny morning, I entered FTH:K HQ in Observatory with a tomato red coloured head (the African sun was, is and will be hot!) and was warmly welcomed into the company with those lovely South-African hugs (‘Damn, I miss those!’).

From then on, things went fast. I joined the company in all their activities (rehearsals, workshops, meetings, office work…) and tried to see, listen, understand and question as much as possible. And the more I saw, the more I got enthusiastic about their work and the way they do it. This little company manages to change, little by little two separate societies by gathering them together in a magical world of theatre, stories, body language, interaction and laughter. What I saw was a very open and hard working company trying to inspire as much people as possible. And in doing so, they give people, who are too often excluded in society, a chance and a challenge, a tool and a skill.

I take a quote of the great philosopher Michel Foucault to end this little letter of mine. Foucault said:

‘People know what they do, they frequently know why they do what they do, but what they don’t know is what what they do, does.’

Therefore, I see it as a modest goal of my thesis to find a way to clarify what the work of a company as FTH:K does. To let people believe in the importance of their actions and to put their work in a much brighter light, in the spotlight they deserve!” – Flore Deprez

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