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AARDKLOP PROJECTS (article first published : 2003-10-18)

The last day of Aardklop 2003 saw the announcement of three new major projects that will ensure and reinforce the festival’s vision of sustainability.

The first project that Aardklop will undertake with two partners is the presentation of the tango opera Maria de Buenos Aires by the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. This exciting performance will be produced in conjunction with the Oude Libertas Theatre in Stellenbosch and the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK). According to Karin Meiring, festival director of the KKNK, festivals can no longer afford not to work together. “Synergy between festivals and independent theatres will replace the regional councils for the arts of yesteryear and ensure the sustainability of quality productions.” The company Vleis, Rys en Aartappels will handle the production with Marthinus Basson as director.

Classical music expert Paul Boekkooi is very excited about the prospect of this specific production being presented in South Africa. “Piazzolla’s works have become increasingly important internationally over the past few years. He is a typical example of a composer whose work only got the acknowledgement it deserved after his death. He is known for the enormous role he played in processing traditional music (in this case the Latin American tango) into classical status. Maria de Buenos Aires is one of the highest ranked operas on international stages at the moment, and it is exhilarating to think that it will be presented in South Africa – in line with latest in the world of arts.”

The production will open in January at the Oude Libertas Theatre, thereafter it will be presented at the KKNK and at the end of September 2004 at Aardklop.

The second project announced by the management of the Aardklop festival, is the founding of the Sol Plaatje Aardklop Academy – a continuation and extension of the popular Sol Plaatje Diskoers series presented annually at the Aardklop festival. The Sol Plaatje Aardklop Academy will be a virtual academy that will undertake continued debates about relevant themes in the international and national sphere. The theme for this year, South Africa and the Future, will be carried forward to ensure that an investigated, tabulated report on the future of various community aspects can be delivered at Aardklop 2004.

“In the process of the consolidation of our democracy, the Afrikaans community plays an enormous role. The Sol Plaatje Aardklop Academy will be looking into the sustainability of that democracy – and I anticipate that it will fulfil a pivotal role in the envisioning of future events,” says Dr Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, chairman of Aardklop’s board of directors.

The third project, undertaken in conjunction with SABC2, is an arts development plan. Aardklop will target six projects for development – two plays and four cabaret- and/or music theatre scripts. SABC2 will support the development of the last four scripts, of which two will be in Afrikaans and one in Tswana, as well as one multilingual production. Aletta Alberts, acting manager of SABC2, said that as national broadcaster they are very pleased to be involved in the development of the arts. ‘’Especially with Tswana being part of the Sotho language group. As we will be recording this, a larger part of the community will be able to see it.”

The aim is to align the writers to established mentors, to ensure that the scripts will be developed to their full potential. The deadline for applications for the funding and the projects is November 15, 2003.

The festival management requires a complete description (‘treatment’) of the planned texts, including a summary and construction of the concept. The winners will be announced at the end of November and the final scripts will be ready by the end of March. Aardklop’s basic requirement is that the scripts have to be original and contemporary.

Says JP Landman, managing director of Aardklop: “Aardklop has been working for more than a year on these specific projects to make a contribution to the sustainability of the arts, as well as the sustainability of an open, frank and public conversation/discussion about affairs that affect each South African in a global context.”

More details from Ronel Nel on 012 362-2054 or e-mail: ronel@aardklop.co.za




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