Weaving Webs: It’s who you know.

Posted: November 29, 2011 in Industry Thoughts
Tags: , , , , , ,

Arts Managers need to network, they need to hustle, they need to work a room, they need to suck up their personal differences and play nice for two very important reasons.


1. United We Stand

If the theatre industry is to grow and gain influence, it must band together to stand up against various policies that might negatively affect our work. For example: The Western Cape Education Department is clamping down on excursion procedures. We as the theatre industry have an important relationship with bringing theatre into schools. How will this affect theatre for younger audiences and what are we doing about it?

2. Work Smart

A well-networked theatre company is able to get more done with less energy. Beth Kanter has started a whole empire just telling people about the importance of the Social Network. It raises the importance of network on the online platform and the significance of collaboration. Many hands make light work doesn’t it?

Last night was the ASSITEJ South Africa annual general meeting where Heather Parr was named as the new chairperson! (ASSITEJ is the umbrella organisation for theatre aimed at children and young people.) A very big congrats to her! The ASSITEJ SA board is made up of many a theatre stalwart in South Africa with Yvette Hardie standing as the Director of ASSITEJ and stepping down as chairperson. Yvette is also the President of ASSITEJ International.

What does this mean for theatre South Africa?

It means we’re on the map, a very important intricate map of influential theatre practitioners and festival organisers worldwide within the ASSITEJ community, outside of just the Edinburgh Festival or Canadian fringe circuit. It also gives South African theatre practitioners a chance to work together to bid for the next ASSITEJ  World Congress in 2017, which would fill every theatre in Cape Town. It means developing our own work for that festival. It means international exposure for our companies. It means South African artists have a close link to the president’s office, to open up the doors to theatre festivals world wide, all 100 plus of them.

For FTH:K, represented by Jayne at the AGM, it’s an opportunity to engage with more audiences world wide, as we have found that our work, though directed at adult audiences, often resonates hugely with young people.

In these trying times, where nearly every theatre company in Cape Town is fighting the good fight for funding, there is another aspect of running a theatre company that we should also focus on, particularly as new arts managers come into the business: the building of networks around your company.

Theatre Arts Managers who think outside of their immediate industry, outside of their rehearsal process, are the ones who seem to be making headway in the field.

Let’s get more of our theatre makers on board. Let’s grow the networks and the industry.

  1. Pieter Bosch Botha says:

    Thanks for this! A wonderful acknowledgement of the power that can be yielded by playing in the global arena. Another good example of this is the Puppetry Development Project which Assitej SA is currently mentoring here in Cape Town. Laway Arts (from SA) collaborating with SpeeltheaterHolland (from Edam) to create a piece of theatre around a truly South African story. As part of their process they’re also doing workshops with young puppeteers from CT, transferring skills on a “global” scale. Assitej SA is proud to have FTH:K as a member, and we look forward to growing the communal global network together!

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