Archive for the ‘Quest Visual Theatre’ Category

CWB learnersWe have told you about the new partnerships that FTH:K has launched, right, and one of the projects on which we are collaborating is our National Deaf Education Tour (NDET). We ran our first tour in 2006 and since then, have run one every year, reaching more than 25 000 youths, of which 70% have been Deaf or hard of hearing. Together with Clowns Without Borders SA, Dominican School for Deaf Children in Wittebome, Cape Town, and international Deaf artist, Ramesh Meyyappan, FTH:K is running its National Tour again sharing with Deaf learners across the country the magic of live performance and the fun of theatre skills.

CWB groupNow, you obviously know who FTH:K is, and we’re sure you’re familiar with our work at Dominican School through our Tell-Tale Signs Programme, but what about Clowns Without Borders? Well, they are a group of…clowns…obviously…but not just any old buncha clowns. They are a group that has reached over 200,000 children and adults in communities affected by violence, disease, natural disasters, and poverty, and by presenting free performances throughout Southern Africa, they use physical comedy, music, storytelling, and dance, to provide momentary relief to people in these affected environments. Yeah. They’re awesome.

The Art of WarAnd this Ramesh guy? Ramesh Meyyappan is a Deaf theatre practitioner, based in Scotland, who creates performances using an eclectic mix of visual and physical theatre styles. Despite using little to no language in his work, he creates strong narrative performances and recently even added circus techniques to his theatrical visual vocabulary. His works have been toured to Austria, Australia, Cambodia, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Poland, United Kingdom and the United States to name just a few…and now, South Africa! And we met him through our American partners, Quest Visual Theatre.

The Tour itself

The first leg of the 2013 NDET runs until 24 May at the Dominican School for Deaf Children where Ramesh will be running a 3-week residency programme in visual theatre with the Deaf learners. He’s teaming up with long-standing FTH:K friend and collaborator Sjaka Septembir to create a work-in-progress which will culminate in a series of showcases at the school’s annual Arts and Culture Day on 1 November.

The second phase brings together new and old collaborators. The new? The fabulous Clowns Without Borders SA. The old? Previous FTH:K Artistic Director, Jayne Batzofin, and a number of schools in KZN and the Free State with whom we have both long-standing relationships and new, burgeoning ones. The clowns have devised a new production that they are taking around KZN and the Free State from 06 to 24 May.

But it’s important to note that the NDET is not just about performing a show and then leaving again. As our awesome CEO Ana Lemmer says, “One of our objectives is to give the Deaf access not only to theatre and theatre skills, but also to develop skills in areas related to drama, literacy, self-confidence and team work, as well as developing future audiences. We are particularly inspired about our new partnerships as these will enable us to reach new heights in line with those objectives.”

And as if that wasn’t enough, an additional coolness is that Deaf FTH:K graduates Marlon Snyders, Christopher Beukes and Sinethemba Mgebisa will also be working with Ramesh while he is in the country, benefitting from the exchange not only creatively but also in personal growth as Ramesh himself is testimony of what is possible in Deaf performance. You guys will remember Marlon, Christopher and Sinethemba as being Trainees on our Tell-Tale Signs training programme’s Integrated Professional Development Programme, dazzling audiences with their performances in OfficeBLOCK, before graduating from the programme in 2012.

So, there you go, okes. We’ll keep you posted on how the project is going so, as always watch this space!

‘OfficeBLOCK’ ends tomorrow night where we will have a braai afterwards, small and cosy and keeping us down-to-earth with the people who love and support us the most, before we take the piece off to America, to share and build it with the amazing people at Wings Theatre of Quest Visual Theatre.

So far the response has been great. Here are two reviews, by Rory Berry and Mariana Malan and if you’re not so clued up on Afrikaans, the Google Translate application gives you the jist of what Die Burger is getting at.

AnaEven though our beloved Tink couldn’t make it, she sent her words with Ana and filled the air with her spirit.

As a draft for the final piece that will be made for QuestFest (US) and National Arts Fest (SA) 2012 the piece is showing a strong foundation. For this very short run, we’ve opened ourselves right up for feedback from our audiences. We’ve made space for the patrons to comment in on our foyer display, or in private with the director after the show. The work is, at the end of the day, about the audience, so who better to give us feedback? The audiences have this week been made up of new faces, press and the backbone of FTH:K’s sanity, the FTH:K Family.

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The FTH:K family, which originally started out as actual family members, has grown to include supporters of the work, from public, the press, collaborators and contributors. We hope that in the months to come, these characters in our community will be of the American variety too. Check these family photos by our amazing publicist Christine Skinner:

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Just two more performances left! Our trainees really showing their mettle. Come see! While you’re at it try get your hands on our OfficeBLOCK’ badges, they’re selling like hot cakes!

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Sneak Pictures from Friday’s rehearsal below!

OfficeBLOCK opens on Wednesday, with a preview on Tuesday night.

Rob, our artistic director and award-winning lighting designer will be spending today working out technical cues and once again showing-off his fabulous eye for lighting. Given that 3/4’s of the performers are Deaf, he has to take into account that the Deaf are hugely reliant on their sight and appropriate lighting for balance – especially when climbing on one another!

Jayne has been designing the set and costume. Although Jayne is from historically Joburg, she will give any designer in Cape Town a run for their money with her know-how of Cape Town’s streets,  and her keen eye for design and bargain.

Our newcomer Gali has been lending her hand in the dance department.  Gali Kumwimba nee Malebo, our education co-ordinator, has been involved in musical theatre up in the Free State and has been blessing us with her presence since June.  She is generally the quiet type, that is, until the music starts.

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OfficeBLOCK, is a series of vignettes which details the corporate world, and is also a chance for the public to see the talent we have been harvesting in the form of our trainees Marlon, Christo and Sinethemba. Make no mistake, these are not actors taken because, “ag shame, they’re Deaf” but because their stage presence and physicality is enormously spectacular. This is a chance for the you, the public, to see the value of what FTH:K does, integrating the Deaf and hearing onto one stage. The trainees will perform alongside our Fleur du Cap nominee Liezl de Kock.

This piece will only grow from here and your input is wholly welcome after the show. Next year we take the piece to QuestFest where we integrate with Wings Theatre Company. Following QuestFest we will be bringing the piece to National Arts Festival, to debut on African soil.

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FTH:K is an award-winning company and Ismail Mohamed, National Arts Festival Director, had this to say about FTH:K’s Herbert Dhlomo Naledi Award to Emerging Theatre Company:

“In the presentation of the award the word “emerging” was not to denote newcomer on the block but it was intended to acknowledge a company whose work is giving rise to newly emerging forms of artistic expression, entrepreneurial best practices and a commitment to grow social consciousness through quality driven entertaining theatre productions. The first ever award in this category receives its own sense of value by it being given to a company that celebrates a strong track record of representing the values envisioned by this award.”

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!

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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!

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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

 

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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.

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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! 

OfficeBLOCK: …..business as usual…. will be performed at the Intimate Theatre in Cape Town from 15 to 19 November by the talented Tell-Tale Signs trainees Marlon Snyders, Christopher Beukes and Sinethemba Mgebisa under the direction of artistic director Rob Murray.

Joining them on stage is FTH:K’s leading performer, Liezl de Kock (Fleur du Cap Nominee for Best Female performer in Womb Tide), with set and costume design by Jayne Batzofin, and lighting design by Murray.
The work is the first phase of the ArtsBridge International Exchange piece. ArtsBridge is a collaboration with Wings Theatre Company in the USA and is the creative wing of Quest Visual Theatre. This piece will travel to Washington D.C. early next year, where it will be developed further, in collaboration with Wings for the Quest Fest in February before bringing it back to the National Arts Festival and a South African tour.

Getting the sequence right in the OfficeBLOCK rehearsal. Cape Town, South Africa, October 2011.
An Except form the Artsbridge Showcase, August 2011.

The production centres around an office clerk stuck in a dead end job. Increasingly desperate and feeling trapped, he embarks on a journey to fight for his independence and identity against a stifling corporation.

Featuring FTH:K’s signature style of non-verbal theatre, the production promises to be an intriguing blend of physical and visual performance – gritty, poignant, and absurdly comic, with more than a little touch of magical realism.  “It’s Kafka meets The Matrix and is heavily inspired by The Little Prince!”enthuses Murray.

OfficeBLOCK: …..business as usual….   will be performed at the Intimate Theatre in Cape Town from 15 to 19 November at 8pm.

This run will also be a fundraiser for the Artsbridge project. Tickets cost R30. Tuesdays is Twosdays – buy one ticket and get two.

Suit Up for Friday night’s show wearing your interpretation of a suit. Enjoy a summer bring ‘n braai on Saturday night after the show . There are also great prizes to be won.

For further information and bookings contact Angela on 021 4482838 or angela@fthk.co.za

We’re bubbling with ideas as we conceptualise the first phase of the ArtsBridge piece.

ArtsBridge is a collaboration with ‘Wings Theatre Company’ in the States and is the creative wing of Quest Visual Theatre. In November we will present a short, 5-day run of the piece at the Intimate Theatre. This piece then goes to Washington D.C. early next year, where it will be developed further, in collaboration with ‘Wings’ for the Quest Fest in February before bringing back to the National Arts Festival at the end of June and beginning of July.

In honour of this very exciting conceptual phase, here are some of the crazy things we’ve come across.

What happens when you ask for tips on Facebook

Ugli Bob asked his Facebook friends for anecdotes from the workplace and here are some of the things they had to say:

  •  banter is the pre-lube, er, prelude to serious research: Research 101
  • I had a project manager go to italy with a company camera to record progress and got a porno back interspersed with pictures of the building. And he paid for the girlfriend to fly from the UK on his expense account, cheeky f@cker.  And I fired a guy unknowingly on his birthday, I’m on a roll. 
  •  oh, wibs you mean when you taught me to play the trombone? *fond mamaries*

When Google Alerts yields a Gem

Tanya keeps an eye out on all things relevant to Deaf and theatre on her Google account. The link between the Deaf and theatre and zombies is a rare but awesome find. These guys are raising funds for the Michigan School for the Deaf.

Zombies walk the sidewalks of downtown Flint for the third annual event

This is thriller?

Putting Mimes to Work

When people don’t want to adhere to traffic rules and regulations: make fun of them. Thanks to Carla Lever for this link!

Shhh! Mimes tackle traffic chaos in Venezuela

Using Mimes to Ridicule Traffic Violators

Yes, this is what we call work.