The over-riding mood of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown this year was fairly dark. Themes touching on Race, Culture and General Disillusionment dominated the stages…. A bit like the mood of our Nation at the moment ….with the usual characters – Violence, Lawlessness and Political Disarray playing starring roles….
But amid the chaos pockets of hope exist and once again The Arts did its magic- bringing folk together from all walks of life to share experiences which heighten emotions and force engagement with the nitty -gritty of life – all of it enhanced by the rawness of the live theatre experience….
One pocket of hope this year was the eight school children from Chintsa Drama Club who through the hard work of lovely Ms Charlotte, International Volunteer Coordinator and Drama Graduate, had a chance to engage with a South Africa they had never seen before.
These youngsters live lives that are challenged daily by poverty, lack of opportunity and at times just flat out abuse…but through drama club they access moments to step out of character and into dreams, longings and imagination. They are gazed at, focused on, appreciated and applauded. And one hopes that for brief periods of time perhaps, they ‘get away’.
Due to Charlotte’s tenacious character and sheer determination this group of young troubadours ended up on a road trip to South Africa’s largest Arts Festival and performed a special home-brewed story about Sipho the Lazy Boy,
In between performing the drama group attended shows and seeped up the atmosphere….
And as their experiences grew, so did their performance and improvisation..until,
but we were certainly being entertained!
With their experience as Arts Festival Performers under their belt,
they brought ‘Sipho’ home to Chintsa,
and presented their final performance to family, friends and local community –
bringing a bit of the Festival home too.
“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
July 2015 – Celebrating the formation of and first performances by the Chintsa Drama Club and their fabulous trip to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.