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DIRECTORS PROGRAMME (article first published : 2004-10-26)

The Eager Artists Theatre Company in partnership with Create SA will run a 10-month Directors learnership training programme commencing in November 2004.

This learnership is fully funded by the National Skills Fund through the CreateSA programme of the MAPPP-SETA and the venue for classes is provided by the Durban Cultural and Documentation Centre, which is under the department of Arts, Culture & Tourism.

The South African government has established arts centres in the previously disadvantage areas so they can feed the fast growing entertainment industry. Most of the time these centres are not as vibrant as expected, especially in the cast of theatre work. The shortage of qualified and competent artistic directors who will create exiting new works has made these centres lack vibrancy.

In Kwa–Zulu Natal, there are a mere handful of artistic directors, particularly from the disadvantaged communities. Most of the time, training institutions produce actors and while it is beyond doubt that KZN is rich in talent, most actors who are formally and informally trained are hit by the reality of unemployment because of the lack of young directors generating new productions.

Eager Artists also plans to dominate one venue in Grahastown Festival and will ensure that these young directors will participate in other festivals like Macufe Festival, Market Theatre New Works Festival and Durban’s young directors festival to be held at the Stable Theatre in 2005. There would be a showcase of new works by young directors.

“The Arts industry is growing fast in this country and more doors are open to showcase our works internationally, we need to get ready for that challenge as a job creation for South African artists,” says the programme director Jerry Pooe.

“I feel that we need to pull our resources and channel our energy towards building this nation by training more young people who may lead us to the revolution in theatre and bring our audiences back to theatre by creating professional innovative works of world class standard,” he adds.

KZN boasts The Playhouse, The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Kwasuka Theatre and several other theatres around Durban. The recently renovated Stable Theatre aims to provide opportunities for aspiring artists and the building of this art centre has encouraged provincial government to fund the festivals. The challenge facing community based groups and directors is that they do not benefit because of the lack of profile and a perception that their work is amateurish. The best way to engage them fully in the growing arts industry is by nurturing, skills development and mentorship. In other regions of KZN there are unused community halls and arts centres and this training project will solve the problem of unused infrastructure. Directors will be able to go back to their communities and stage works in theatres like Ekhaya Multi Art Centre.

Further details on the programme from Eager Artists on 031 305 1624 or email: pfcaters@mweb.co.za




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