Posts Tagged ‘Quest Visual Theatre’

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!

Listen Eyes buttons white backgroundYes, everyone! South Africa’s premier Deaf and hearing theatre company is back on tour with new and exciting partnerships and programmes. As you know, from 2005 – 2012 we operated as the only full-time theatre company of its kind in the country. Well, in 2013 we decided to shake things up again and started a process of restructuring ourselves in recognition of the internal changes in the company as well as the changing environment of Arts and Culture both nationally and internationally. Huh?! In short, it means that we have ditched the bricks-and-mortar elements of the company in favour of broader, more exciting programming, and are focussing strongly on national and international collaboration. While there might not be groups out there doing exactly what we do, there are people who share the same artistic and educational goals. And with money in the industry getting tighter than a lug nut, it becomes almost irresponsible not to partner with like-minded organisations to share resources and maximise achievements. So, with satellite offices in Cape Town, Grahamstown, and Washington, DC, FTH:K has adopted the idea of a global village and truly gone mobile!

We had a good long think about what we do, what we stand for, and what inspires us to come to work every morning, and we realised three things: 1) that we want to make visual theatre, 2) that we believe we have a meaningful role to play in education, specifically within the Deaf communities, and 3) that 1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive ideas. In many ways it is a mirroring of how FTH:K started in the first place, just without the jugs of Bavarian Lager. So once more, we have adapted and are back on tour to bring the magic of FTH:K to the world and (with apologies to SAA) to bring the world to FTH:K!

We have some awesome new partners who have joined us this year including Deaf performer and educator Ramesh Meyyappan and Clowns Without Borders South Africa, while our international relationship with Quest Visual Theatre has strengthened significantly. Dominican School for Deaf Children – where we started our very first programme years ago – remains with us in a newly revised approach to our Tell-Tale Signs Programme, and Sjaka Septembir is heading up the teaching on that. Of course, SLED are still our go-to guys in so many language-based areas. And let’s not forget all the Deaf and hearing schools, organisations and institutions around the country that we work with every year.

So, has FTH:K changed? In some ways. Is it still innovating? Is it still inspiring? Is it still finding exciting ways to COMMUNICATE * EDUCATE * and FASCINATE? You better believe it! So here we go, guys. It’s time for a new and exciting FTH:K adventure!

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.