Archive for the ‘Kennedy Center’ Category

FTH:K is cursed when it comes to weather. There’s a saying in the company: How do you know it’s FTH:K’s move-in day? It’s raining. It will be the day we have to pull our wooden set across the country and risk exposure to rain and warping, and then we the people packing the set into the trailer, will get wet. Time and time again. Heading to Washington D.C., we thought we had left our weather woes at the National Arts Festival, when could you believe it, we arrived in Washington where, far from wet misery, is experiencing it’s hottest weather in 10 years.

Outside of our climate adapting, it has been a great trip so far, rubbing shoulders with our Yankee counterparts. We’ve toured Gallaudet University, a University for the Deaf in D.C, and bonded with the good people of Quest Visual Theatre.

FTH:K was invited to perform at the opening ceremony of the World Friendship Volleyball Games which is currently being hosted by Gallaudet University. Random, I know.

What made it particularly cool was that, this audience of sporty people took to the snippet of Shortcuts so well. Even though there was a scary moment and where Christo hit the ground with his head instead of his feet (He’s alright now!)

Naturally, going to America, there was trepidation about what kind of food we might encounter (flashes of SuperSize Me) but even our resident Vegan, Jayne, has, despite her initial hesitations, enjoyed many great salads and been introduced to other Vegans. Tink says she has found the greatest beans known to mankind at the Red Hot & Blue.

Back in South Africa there’s the incredible BASA awards happening at the end of August, where three of our supporters are up for awards, in recognition of their support of FTH:K. The Citizen, up in Jozi, was instrumental in aiding our Listen With Your Eyes tour at the Market Theatre last year, as was Distell who has been a fabulous supporter since the beginning. Also, in that list was Pretoria Portland Cement (commonly known as PPC: useful trivia which might be the deciding point in your next General Knowledge Quiz), who sponsored our National Tour of Tales From the Trash last year.


How cool is it to have your sponsors get an award for doing the good work they do!?

We’ve had so many things change round this month, but one who has not even received a mention, was our blessed dinosaur; our photocopy machine, Beast. It was a quick and quiet funeral, and in a brief sermon held by Ma Ang and Ana, our photocopier was laid to rest. Beast was responsible for many an FTH:K programme, funding application and report but after several paper jams, botched copies, and failures to turn on, it was time to go. Beast has since been replaced by Beauty, but his hard work and loyalty, will not be forgotten.

In trying to take over the world, taking knocks is part of the game. So here’s to the uncomfortable weather and the dying office equipment, the FTH:K dream goes on!

More from D.C. to follow…

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FTH:K is growing. And with all growth comes change. While change can be a little scary, it can also herald in new and exciting possibilities. Such is the kind of change taking place in FTH:K.

As most of you already know, two key people are moving on from the Company for a little while as they pursue career-training opportunities: Company Director Tanya Surtees, and Education Coordinator, Simangele Mabena.

Tanya Surtees2 250 - Toast Coetzer Tanya is heading off to Washington, DC to extend her Arts Management training by working with the Deaf and hearing visual theatre company, Quest, while brokering the exciting 2-year Quest-FTH:K exchange programme called the Artsbridge International Exchange (which forms the basis of FTH:K’s 5-year plan). While it is obviously sad to see her go, we know that she will remain an active part of the family until she comes back to share what she has learnt. It is also an opportunity for her to put her Kennedy Center training to good use by passing on developed, and developing, skills to a new, up-and-coming Arts Manager.

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Enter Ana Lemmer. With an MPhil in Cultural Tourism and Heritage Studies and a BA in Language and Culture, both from Stellenbosch, Ana has a range of experience working in the tourism, arts and heritage sectors. She navigated her way through the various rounds of interviews held by the Company and came up on top as an exciting young Arts Manager, well-capable of taking on Tanya’s role in time. So, from August 2011, look forward to seeing Ana championing the FTH:K cause!

Simangele Mabena - Toast Coetzer 250 The second member of the team to be heading off to foreign lands is Simangele who has been awarded a Sauvé Scholarship in leadership, spending 9 months in Canada to study Integrated Education. This is a huge opportunity for her and FTH:K is very proud of the fact that she was one of the candidates selected – especially as it nominated her for the Scholarship. While her time with FTH:K has been relatively short, Sma has played a vital role in the developing and monitoring of the Company’s education programmes, and leaves behind her a solid programme structure for the new Education Coordinator.

And who is this person?  Let Gali Kumwimba take the stage…

Gali has a BA Honours in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University ofGali the Free State and has been involved in theatre and education for many years. She also has a particular interest in working within the Deaf community and in 2009, astounded us by flying herself down from Bloem just to attend our AGM – normally we have to ply people with alcohol to get them to attend our parties! In 2010, FTH:K reconnected with her through Lady Grey Arts Academy (Company member Liezl’s old school and home town) where Gali was teaching, and when she made the move down to Cape Town with her husband, FTH:K knew they would work with her in time. The time, it would seem, is now!

Bitter-sweet. Happy-sad. Hello-goodbye.  But how cool is it to welcome two new people aboard the FTH:K wagon?! Ahhhh….we are so lucky to be able to grow in the way we are…

But wait, the title of this blog post says something of a party – and in the mists of nostalgia, we forgot to mention that

WE’RE THROWING A PARTY!!!

PartyAhem…yes…FTH:K is throwing a party. Why?? Haven’t you read a word we’ve said?! To say goodbye to old friends, hello to new ones, and bon voyage to the team that leaves in July for the Artsbridge Exchange!! So, if you have been to one of our shows or got involved in our programmes or have reached into your pockets or souls to help up along the way, had any meaningful contact with the company over the years, or simply want to say goodbye, then you’re invited!

WHERE: Theatre in the District
WHEN: Friday 24th June
TIME: 8:30 pm (there will be some formalities so don’t be late!)
DRESS: Anything goes
BRING: A plate of snacks (we’ll take care of some basics, some wine, and make sure there’s a cash bar so we can send some love the way of the Theatre in the District)

It’s important that we know who’s coming so please CONTACT US to let us know if you will be joining us…as well as what you’re bringing so that we don’t get stuck with 400 samoosas as dinner…

See you there!!

I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of this programme for fear of nauseating you all with repetition.  So, basically, in point form:

  • 1 Fellowship
  • 1 Arts Organisation
  • 3 summers
  • 3 years
  • 42 Fellows
  • 28 countries
  • A million things to learn

SummerInternationalFellowship 2010

So, if this interests you, CLICK HERE and get applying!

Need more information?

Read below…or check out the Kennedy Center website…you can also contact the three previous South African Fellows if you have questions: Ukhona, through the Artscape Resource Centre; Johann through the Baxter Theatre; and Tanya through FTH:K. Click here to read what Tanya has had to say about her visits to DC.

“The Summer International Fellowship Program provides practical experience to 15 mid-to-high level arts leaders currently working in international nonprofit performing arts organizations. This full-time, four-week intensive program takes place at the Kennedy Center each July; Fellows attend each summer for three consecutive years. While at the Center, the fellows take classes and refine strategic plans for their home organizations. The Kennedy Center has hosted 42 Fellows in three classes from 28 countries.

The deadline for applications is December 1, 2010. Applications are now being accepted. If you have further questions regarding the program, should be submitted to contact the Kennedy Center.

To apply for this program click on the link below. You will be taken to a login page. Simply enter your email address. You will also be asked to create a user id and a password. This will enable you to return and update your online application. You will then be taken to an application that will ask you for your contact information, biography/resume, and personal statement.”

Click to login to the DeVos Institute Summer International Fellowship Program

This year is the first time that we have three consecutive classes of Fellows at the Kennedy Center concurrently.  This means that the KC is training over 40 young arts managers every year from 2010 on.  Cool, huh?  I can’t comment much on the new group as we have just met them but they hail from all over the world and seem to be a phenomenal group of people.  Not as cool as us, of course, but pretty damn awesome in their own right!  And the first thing we got to do with them was the 4th July KC party.  In previous years, we have always had a few days of Fellowship before the 4th of July party, but this year, the party was first on the list.  No complaints there!

The format of the event was very similar to previous years with all sorts of games and food stations and bars and tables lining the upper floor of the KC.  For us, it was a great event but for different reasons to previous years in that most of the event was spent reconnecting with KC staff members and Fellows who we hadn’t seen in a year, as well as getting to know the new group.  The fireworks display showed no sign of recession, going on for an impressive length of time – I always feel for every animal in DC, or the whole of the States for that matter, every 4th…they must crap themselves annually!!

Then, it was time to revisit the 51st State, our bar-away-from-home!  However, having a group of over 40 Fellows means that if before finding a table together was difficult, now it’s damn impossible!!  But, in our inimitable way, with just a little time and a lot of charm, we managed to take over the entire outside deck.  One guy who was just chilling there having a beer on his lonesome (and gave us his table, bless him, joining us for a drink) left complimenting us on how we had managed to infiltrate and take over so successfully! I thought about mentioning something about colonisation and learning from the best based on our various experiences in our countries, but thought better of it.  Hardly light conversation!

Oh, I’ve also bought a new camera which is great for the purposes of this blog because I get to give you decent pics.  The downside is that I am still learning how to use the thing and as such, after taking 10 pics at the party, the memory was full!  Yes, I was taking them at 5MB or something each!…And while I bought the camera, I totally overlooked getting a memory card too…ahem…clearly don’t do this often!  So, here’s what I got, limited as it is.  Tomorrow we start officially (today was a public holiday, given the 4th being yesterday) so I’ll be keeping you posted…

Keep ‘em peeled…

(Thoughts on the final year of the Kennedy Center’s Arts Management Fellowship – by Company Director Tanya Surtees)

So, after what seemed a relatively short flight (going direct from JHB to DC with a short fuel stop in Dakar – thanks Joel!), I have landed in DC.  As this only happened yesterday, this blog post is going to be fairly short but I thought I’d set up the routine of blogging from as soon as possible this year.  You know, before the beer, tequila and, oh, right, the learning get going!

Not one of my fellow Fellows is here yet.  Well, not that I have seen, at least.  Yip.  I fly aaaaaaaall the way from Cape Town and still manage to get here before the rest of them!  So far, I know that Mr Albania (Fation) is stuck in Munich airport without a Schengen Visa, having missed his connecting flight;  Ms Mexico (Denisse) is stuck in Dallas, for reasons unknown; and Johann (fellow South African Fellow) left the day before me and still hasn’t got here!!  And knowing him, he could be anywhere!!  So right now it’s just me and my jetlag kicking back in DC.  Oh, of course the new group of First Years are already here – the First Year programme is 4 weeks long, while the Second and Third, only 3 weeks.  But I haven’t met any of them either and I guess I could have walked right past them in the lobby and not even have known.

As I have said before, this year is bitter-sweet, being my last year here, and I plan to squeeze every last bit of experience out of it.  Of that you can be sure!  But extra special about this year is that the lovely Ukhona Mlandu-Letsika is here as well – as part of the First Year team.  She is, of course, the Artscape Resource Centre Manager by day but moonlights as part of FTH:K’s Executive Committee so besides being an awesome person to have in DC with me, it’ also really special for the Company to have her continuing the line of FTH:K in DC!

Ok.  That’s it from me for now.  Watch this space for details as I will be blogging as regularly as possible, and don’t forget that if you want to keep up to date with the Company in Grahamstown (they’re gearing up for the National School’s Fest right now) keep an eye on our Facebook page.  Ok?  Come on…we can’t do all the work ;-)

Womb Tide Poster DRAFT - 250 ONCRM We have been throwing around rumours of this Womb Tide thing…but not really giving you too many details…and you’re just dying to know, right? I mean, what is it?  You know that it is a story by Lara Foot (developed in collaboration with Leila Henriques, Brian Webber, and Joss Levine), and maybe you know that it has been selected to play on the Arena Programme at the National Arts Festival.  Maybe you will even know that it is set to have a season at both the Market Theatre and the Baxter Theatre later this year.  If you know all of this, then you are probably Lara Foot herself!  But if not, know it now and sing it from the hill tops – because it’s going to be that good. (Check out the official Press Release)

The play was first performed to high acclaim in 1996.  In 2010, the show will be recreated and devised by a cast of hot up-and-coming performers (we use nothing but here at FTH:K) including our very own Liezl de Kock and Emilie Starke (also working on the set and props), and collaborators Daniel Buckland, and Kim Kerfoot, under the direction of Rob Murray.  A stellar cast of designers has been assembled, including James Webb and Brydon Bolton (sound), Craig Leo (puppet design & set and props), and Leila Anderson (costumes).

More than just simply a remounting, Womb Tide is a complete overhaul of the original story, given FTH:K’s approach to creating fresh, startling, visually-accessible work. This is driven and given weight by the mentoring of director, Rob Murray, by Lara Foot herself, as well as FTH:K’s Company Director, Tanya Surtees, by arts organisation, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

At its heart, Womb Tide is an unconventional love story. Set in the mid to late twentieth century South Africa, it follows an eccentric and somewhat dysfunctional family through a story of love, loss and ultimate hope, and paints an impressionistic portrait of the complexities of family life.

Told through the memory of a child, it is at once deeply moving, funny, dark, heartbreaking, and ultimately redemptive. Presented by FTH:K, and featuring a stellar cast and crew, Womb Tide is a paean to love and perseverance, and a tour de force of visual and physical storytelling.

So, dates for this most awesome theatre piece include:

  • @ National Arts Festival, Grahamstown: 22nd June (12 pm); 23rd June (3 pm & 9 pm); 24th June (6 pm); 25th June (3 pm)
  • @ Market Theatre, Johannesburg: 29th Aug – 26th Sept (8:15 pm)
  • @ Baxter Theatre, Cape Town: 8th  Nov – 4 Dec (8:15 pm)
  • 2011 onwards…THE WORLD!!

Womb Tide Poster DRAFT - 250 ONCRM We have been throwing around rumours of this Womb Tide thing…but not really giving you too many details…and you’re just dying to know, right? I mean, what is it?  You know that it is a story by Lara Foot (developed in collaboration with Leila Henriques, Brian Webber, and Joss Levine), and maybe you know that it has been selected to play on the Arena Programme at the National Arts Festival.  Maybe you will even know that it is set to have a season at both the Market Theatre and the Baxter Theatre later this year.  If you know all of this, then you are probably Lara Foot herself!  But if not, know it now and sing it from the hill tops – because it’s going to be that good.

The play was first performed to high acclaim in 1996.  In 2010, the show will be recreated and devised by a cast of hot up-and-coming performers (we use nothing but here at FTH:K) including our very own Liezl de Kock and Emilie Starke (also working on the set and props), and collaborators Daniel Buckland, and Kim Kerfoot, under the direction of Rob Murray.  A stellar cast of designers has been assembled, including James Webb and Brydon Bolton (sound), Craig Leo (puppet design & set and props), and Leila Anderson (costumes).

More than just simply a remounting, Womb Tide is a complete overhaul of the original story, given FTH:K’s approach to creating fresh, startling, visually-accessible work. This is driven and given weight by the mentoring of director, Rob Murray, by Lara Foot herself, as well as FTH:K’s Company Director, Tanya Surtees, by arts organisation, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

At its heart, Womb Tide is an unconventional love story. Set in the mid to late twentieth century South Africa, it follows an eccentric and somewhat dysfunctional family through a story of love, loss and ultimate hope, and paints an impressionistic portrait of the complexities of family life.

Told through the memory of a child, it is at once deeply moving, funny, dark, heartbreaking, and ultimately redemptive. Presented by FTH:K, and featuring a stellar cast and crew, Womb Tide is a paean to love and perseverance, and a tour de force of visual and physical storytelling.

So, dates for this most awesome theatre piece include:

  • @ National Arts Festival, Grahamstown: 22nd June (12 pm); 23rd June (3 pm & 9 pm); 24th June (6 pm); 25th June (3 pm)
  • @ Market Theatre, Johannesburg: 29th Aug – 26th Sept (8:15 pm)
  • @ Baxter Theatre, Cape Town: 8th  Nov – 4 Dec (8:15 pm)
  • 2011 onwards…THE WORLD!!