Archive for the ‘QUACK!’ Category

Once more, this blog is about to become schizophrenic!  The full team is still in the National Arts Festival while our Company Director (that’s me!) gets ready to head off for her final year at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC.  And I know that many of you remember that she was there because this blog has never had as many hits as it did last year when I was there!

So, if the themes of the blog seem to be all about DC and Arts Management, and are written in the first person, you’ll know why!

But while I’ve got your attention, I thought I’d fill you in on the NAF so long.  Not that you had any doubts, but In can say that we have been rocking at the National Arts Festival over the past 10 days.  Was the extra-long Fest a success?  Well, the jury’s still out on that and I imagine the experience of that first week of Fest is going to differ hugely from Main to Arena to Fringe to individual productions.  Our experience of that extended first week was something that I think might be symbolic of the theatre environment in general.  It’s not that there were no audiences out there, or that they weren’t buying tickets.  There were.  And they were.  Simply put, they were just being more discerning with where they put their money.  That’s not to say that anyone who struggled with houses was presenting a kak show.  It means that they weren’t getting the word out about their show, that’s all.  More and more, we as artists have to get cleverer and more strategic about how we tell people about the work we are making.  Especially when at the Macro of live performance that is the National Arts Festival.

Anyway, Womb Tide played in the first week and caused quite a stir. We played to packed houses and excited audiences, with people being moved to tears and moved to become members!  It was very affirming.  Check out out Facebook page for what the critics had to say.

Currently, QUACK! and Pictures of You are burning up the Cape Town Edge platform and once they’re done, Womb Tide and Pictures of You take on the National School’s Festival!  Yes, I’ll say it once more: we work haaaaaaaaaaaaaard for the money!!

So, with that, I have to go and pack, having realised that my plane leaves at 2 pm tomorrow, not 6 pm as I thought!  Next you hear from me, I’ll be in the US of A…but the NAF team will keep you updated on their progress beyond, I’m sure…

I’ll leave you with the face of FTH:K’s future: our Trainees at the Long Table!

Christo at NAF 200 Marlon at NAF 200 Tomri at NAF 200


Listen Eyes buttons cropped 60 This has to be one of the biggest projects that we have ever done, here at FTH:K. A Festival of our work with workshops, exhibitions and discussions to boot!

From the 29th August – 26th September 2010, FTH:K will  FTHK presents cropped inverted 60team up with The Market Theatre to produce a unique festival of Visual Theatre, called Listen With Your Eyes: a festival of the visual. A first of its kind, the Festival will present Market theatre logo 60an artistic programme of outstanding non-verbal performance (that’s QUACK! by day, Womb Tide by night) with an accompanying education programme of workshops, lecture-demonstrations and exhibitions.  Most important, though, is the fact that this Festival is going to be accessible to the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and hearing communities within JHB and its surrounds.

Presented in collaboration with the Joburg Arts Alive Festival, as part of the 2010 Deaf Awareness Week celebrations, and with project partners like Sci-bono, Gauteng School’s Festival, The Citizen, The Distell Foundation, and DTV, the Listen With Your Eyes festival will include daily performances of two professional performances (the multi-award-nominated Deaf/hearing performance QUACK!, and a new FTH:K-Lara Foot collaboration Womb Tide), as well as host workshops and lecture-demonstrations with Deaf and hearing participants from the ages of 15 and up.  Interactive exhibitions on the eye and how it reads information will be hosted at Sci-Bono, while Deaf visual artist, Tommy Motswai, will be presenting an exhibition of his work in the Market Theatre Gallery.  And Darren Rajbal (Deaf winner of South Africa’s Got Talent) will be opening the Festival.

Cool, huh??

And why the festival?  Well, as you know, part of FTH:K’s mission is to expose the Deaf to the potential career opportunities within the performing arts and to facilitate their integration into the world of live performance through training, skills transfer and job creation. Being the only company of its kind in the country, FTH:K has a responsibility to reach out to Deaf communities outside of the Western Cape. As such, Market Theatre Artistic Director, Malcolm Purkey, and FTH:K Company Director, Tanya Surtees, developed this Festival to address the need for a raised profile in theatre work that creates opportunities for people with disabilities without compromising artistic quality. The Market Theatre is arguably the country’s most important theatre while FTH:K is recognised both nationally and internationally for creating Deaf/hearing work that competes on contemporary stages. This marriage of visions sees the Market Theatre making its programming more accessible to diverse communities with FTH:K developing the profile of integrated theatre in the country’s capital. Ultimately, both The Market Theatre and FTH:K would like to see this Festival as an annual event, and with the proceeds of the Festival, The Market is considering installing a Loop System to make its future programming more accessible to hearing impaired communities.

Festival Schedule:

· 23rd – 28th August: Technical set-up and rehearsals

· 29th August @ 3:00 pm: Preview 1 (Womb Tide)

· 31st August @ 10:30 am Preview 2 (QUACK!)

· 31st August @ 8:15 pm Preview 3 (Womb Tide)


· 2nd – 26th September: Daily performances, workshops, exhibitions & lecture-demonstrations (no workshop on the 2nd)

Daily Schedule

3 – 17 September:

08H15 – 10H00 10H00 – 10H30 10H30 – 12H00 12H00 – 13H30

2 – 26 September:

15H30 – 17H00 17H00 – 17H30 17H30 – 19H00 20H15 – 21H30

Sound interesting?! Damn straight it is!!  And remember, we can only accommodate 100 people per show and workshop – and bookings have already started rolling in – so don’t leave your bookings to the last minute.

  • BOOK NOW for Womb Tide
  • For reduced scholar tickets, call 011 – 832 1641 and ask for Anthony or Tiny

See you there!!

Thousands of tickets sold! Well, that’s what we’re hoping for anyway…

But it’s true. FTH:K is taking 3 different shows to the National Arts Festival this year, so everyone should find something they like from our rep. Womb Tide will be playing on the Festival’s new Arena Programme, while both QUACK! and Pictures of You will be back on the Fringe as part of the 2010 Cape Town Edge Programme.

Here are the details:

Wombtide on black

  • DATES: 22nd – 25th June 2010
  • TIMES: 22nd @ 12pm; 23rd @ 3pm & 9pm; 24th @ 6pm; 25th @ 3pm
  • VENUE: Loerie Hangar (Arena Programme)
  • QUACK cropped inverted

    • DATES: 27th June – 3rd July 2010
    • TIMES: 2 pm daily
    • VENUE: The Princess Alice Hall (as part of the Cape Town Edge)
    • BOOK NOW!

    pictures title 200 ONCRM

  • DATES: 27th June – 3rd July 2010
  • TIMES: 8 pm daily
  • VENUE: The Princess Alice Hall (as part of the Cape Town Edge)
  • QUACK! – the official stuff

    Posted: June 2, 2010 in Awards, QUACK!

    QUACK! Broken Heart - Pic by Toast Coetzer (250) Directed by Rob Murray

    Featuring Liezl de Kock, Daniel Buckland, Emilie Starke, Marlon Snyders, Jori Snell, Tomri Steyn and Christopher Beukes

    Nominated for the 2010 Handspring Puppet Award: Best Visual Theatre Production

    Nominated for the 2009 Fleur du Cap Best Prop and/or Puppetry Design Award for the masks in QUACK! (Janni Younge)

    Devised by the cast under the direction of Rob Murray, featuring masks by Janni Younge and Emilie Starke, sound design by James Webb and Brydon Bolton, set design by Jesse Kramer, and costume design by Leila Anderson, QUACK! comes at you like a sensory cyclone, unfolding un a series of mesmerising images.

    A man lies dying in hospital, lost in fever and beset with visions. In his delirium, he fantasises himself away into a parallel universe, refashioning himself as a powerful healer. Part quack doctor, part motivational speaker, part politician and part alchemist, he travels the land aided by his long-suffering assistant and the dour presence of a number of acolytes. With them, he harvests the hopes and expectations of his audience and then extracts from that hope the very essence of people’s dreams

    But what is he hoping to achieve with the collected dreams and symbols? And what is he building in his private laboratory? And how long can people be deceived and strung along before turning against the liar?

    In a thrilling blend of physical and visual performance, infused with their signature approach to creating accessible, non-verbal performance, QUACK! is FTH:K upping the ante and boldly leaping into the unknown.

    View QUACK! - pics by Toast Coetzer

    View Full Album

    What the press have said about QUACK! :

    …a new-age Afro-Gothic romantic thriller…an original, somewhat sexy, and deliciously disturbing production.” Cape Times

    “…an intense, unique theatrical experience…fever dream of a production…prepare to have the dinges freaked out of you.” Cape Argus

    “It really is poetry in motion.” Artslink

    “…well worth seeing…powerful…Do yourself a favour. Get to Quack! and be surprised, moved, freaked out and entertained.”

    “…mind-blowing adventure…first-rate entertainment…spectacular…theatre that is on the edge…compulsory viewing for anyone who needs to colour in their imagination..” The Writing Studio

    QUACK! is a treat” Citizen

    “…fresh, exciting theatre – different from anything you’ve seen before.”  CUE

    “Visually compelling…”  Artsblog

    “Rob Murray and From the Hip: Khulumakahle triumph again!” Artsmart

    Cape Argus ONCRM 200 


    May 25, 2010
    By Zane Henry

    Cape Town Edge Logo B&W 200 ONCRM If you’re making the pilgrimage to Grahamstown for this year’s bumper National Arts Festival, make sure you spend a few days in Cape Town.
    Cape Town Edge is a collective of professional independent theatre companies and theatre makers whose main objective is creating a tourable platform that showcases a programme of cutting-edge performance originating from Cape Town.

    Initiated by FTH:k (from the hip: khulumakahle) and Hearts & Eyes Theatre Collective, it was formed in 2007 to overcome some of the difficulties small-scale independent theatre companies face when presenting work at festivals and venues around South Africa.
    It encourages an ethos of collaboration as well as offering sponsors the chance to support a number of productions through one grant rather than having to choose between equally deserving performance pieces.

    "This year is bigger, better," says Tanya Surtees, director of FTH:k. "It’s a longer festival so we’re able to accommodate more productions. Many people didn’t want to stay for the entire festival because it’s so expensive so we’ve ended up with a kind of Edge 1 and Edge 2.
    "It’s a really broad mix. If someone can’t find something that they don’t like at the Edge, they don’t like theatre. We’re still at the Princess Alice. We’re still getting some help from Pro Helvetia and Distell. Our front-of-house will be working hard keeping people supplied with food and drinks. "We want people to come in and set up residence. It’s a good place to call home."

    The emphasis of the Cape Town Edge initiative has called for a shift of focus from individual companies or productions to a collective venture that enhances the value and impact of each production under an umbrella structure.

    This significantly promotes Cape Town independent theatre by pooling resources in terms of pre-production, funding, administration, co-ordination, transport, technical needs and taking care of that vital ingredient – the audience.
    The current line-up is as follows:

     Rump Steak: June 21-29 at 10am
     Indlovu People: June 30-July 4 at 10am
     London Road: June 20-July 4 at noon
     Man Turn People Up and Down: June 20-26 at 2pm
     QUACK! June 27-July 3 at 2pm
     Mother Tongue: June 20-26 at 4pm
     …miskien: June 27-July 3 at 4pm
     Ncamisa: June 20-28 at 6pm
     Paraphernalia: June 29-July 3 at 6pm
     I, Claudia: June 20-26 at 8pm
     Pictures of You: June 27-July 3 at 8pm

    Also occupying time and energy is FTH:k’s overhaul of Lara Foot’s Womb Tide. It premieres at the National Arts Festival as part of its new arena programme before travelling to Cape Town and Joburg later in the year.

    "We’re very excited about it," Surtees says. "It is a very moving piece. We took the Lara Foot story and gave it the FTH:k treatment."
    Womb Tide runs:

     June 20-26 at National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
     August 29-September 26 at Market Theatre, Joburg
     November 8-December 4 at Baxter Theatre, Cape Town

    Sencity poster 2010 On Friday night, the cast of QUACK! (and the rest of the FTH:K team) found themselves partying it up at the Sencity gig at the Old Biscuit Mill.  Sencity is a unique music event designed to bring the Deaf and hearing communities together through…well…partying! (Gotta love it.) The event is organized by a Dutch foundation called the Skyway Foundation, and aims to convert the passions of music into as many senses as possible. So, on Friday, the party boasted a Sense Floor (a dance floor that vibrates to the music), Aroma jockeys (spinning aromas across the dance floor), Video Jockeys, Sign dancers (interpreting the lyrics of songs into Sing Language) and a kick-ass line-up that included the likes of The Rudimentals, HHP, and DJ Ready D

    FTH:K had been invited to perform at last year’s Sencity (at the Zip Zap dome) and we had taken the old and young Frank and Janet from Pictures of You around the party to interact with party-goers.  (Click here to see the Sencity 2009 DTV clip and spot Frank and Janet boogeying on the dance floor!)

    Based on the success of 2009, we were invited back to the 2010 Sencity event and this time…we brought the QUACK! family!!  As you may or may not know, QUACK! is an Afro-gothic thriller.  This means the masks are pretty scary!  So, just as the party got going and people were starting to get comfortable on the dance floor, we unleashed the QUACK! family on them…and never have Zane Henry’s words rung so true: they sacred the dinges out of people!!  It was great to watch people’s reactions as out of the smoke and darkness, PB090296these weird creatures appeared…and started preaching, dancing, fighting, playing, and handing out Out The Box Festival booklets, of course! Once the party-goers got used to the freaky family, they fell in love with them.  Photos were taken, dance partnerships developed, and generally, a great time was had by all.  Even a band as cool as The Rudimentals were intrigued by this merry band of crazies! 

    If you get a chance, GO TO THE 2011 SENCITY PARTY!! It is so awesome to see the Deaf and hearing communities partying so comfortably side by side.  But if that’s not of interest to you, it is quite simply, an excellent jolll!


    March will see FTH:K head to Washington, USA, to perform Quack! at Quest Fest, a two-week visual theatre festival. On their return, Capetonians can catch them at Out the Box festival.

    If you’ve seen a FTH:K production, you’ll know that through the integration of traditional African story telling with visual performance, theatrical clowning, mask work and puppetry, the company is producing ground-breaking fringe theatre. The works coming out of their Woodstock HQ defy normal theatrical definition. Through an intricate study of human nature and physicality, the performer-creators and directors convey complex heart-wrenching plots without a single word uttered. It is through the universal language of movement, visual art and music that South Africa’s premier deaf and hearing theatre company are able to transcend cultural and language barriers and hold audiences captivated. It comes as no surprise that despite challenges and growing pains, audiences, critics and peers alike have responded with praise, earning the troupe sell-out shows and critical acclaim.

    It is the mission and manifesto of FTH:K to communicate, educate and fascinate, and the spirit applied to this task is evident. Director Rob Murray and his fellow founding members and Company Manager Tanya Surtees lead an insightful, talented and ballsy team for performer-creators. The inventive productions that make it to the stage are a result of conspiracy of creative minds. They’re a lovely bunch of mad-hatters, passionate performers, learners and teachers, but, most importantly, the theatre they create is haunting, arresting and challenging.

    Quack!, their most recent work, is based on the thoughts and dreams of a dying man. This quirky journey through the disturbed wonderland of his dark soul is an Afro-gothic fantasy that, though the exploration of their technical expertise, allows the masked characters to dance to the rhythm of emotional intrigue. With sound design from James Webb and Brydon Bolton, and masks and puppets from award-winning artist Janni Young, the production is sensory attack. See Quack! at the Out of the Box festival from 20-28 March for a gritty and gripping adventure.

    021 Magazine, 1 March 2010