Tuesday (1 November 2011), was the Arts and Culture Day showcase at the Dominican school for the Deaf in Wynberg. And it was amazing. The MEC for Social Development, Albert Fritz, opened the day and it was just great to have him come and recognise the the day!
Each year, our trainees, Marlon, Christo and Sinethemba are given the opportunity to teach drama to students at the school culminating in an end of year practical exam. Our trainees are being trained in non-verbal visual theatre, groomed to one day join FTH:K as professional members. Their task was to adapt simple children’s stories for stage and this turned out to be hugely entertaining for everyone who came!
This is now my 3rd year of being a part of the Dominican Arts and Culture Day, and I can say it is the best one yet. The students and trainees are just improving in leaps and bounds! And the Day itself is growing- the addition of the Arts award was just awesome. I always feel so blessed to witness the progress of the Dominican learners- they are truly inspirational! – Jayne Batzofin, FTH:K Theatre Maker
Since last year, the trainees have come a long way and are starting to show strong signs of individuality, style and flair. With a small budget, the trainees purchased props and costume. In an adaptation of ‘Pugwash the Pirate’ all ten actors had their own swords were dressed beautifully in coloured pirate pants and tops. It’s these simple gestures that point to a much larger understanding of theatre-making.
What was awesome to see was the use of space and clear imagery used by all the trainee directors. It is so rewarding to see their training at work. Sitting on the side-lines, us arts managers couldn’t help but realise that the standard of our trainees work has increased dramatically, because of a range of improvements to our curriculum, but also quite importantly, being exposed to Gallaudet University in DC and working with artists at the Quest Visual Theatre Company.
It’s absolutely amazing and feels so rewarding that our work, with just a handful of Deaf trainees, has been so successful. The potential of what we dreamed of is being realised, and is evident of how much more we can do for the Deaf and theatre.
The ultimate dream, is to have our trainees compete against any hearing actor in a non-verbal piece. We have successfully managed this in our award-winning pieces QUACK! and Gumbo, and are now transferring these skills to the next generation.
The FTH:K team was thanked by the Dominican School for the Deaf, not just as a procedural event, but for raising the profile of Deaf theatre in the country and for the continuous work done at the school.
This post is for the team: the creative team, the trainees, the learners and teachers at the Dominican and the FTH:K arts managers. Bravo!