A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

music
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

HOPE FOR SOUTH AFRICAN THEATRE (article first published : 2008-05-17)

News of the Catalina Theatre being saved from impending closure is reassuring for the Black, Coloured and Indian artists in KwaZulu-Natal. The Catalina has celebrated the work of authentic South African stories and has seen an emerging theatre audience who are vibrant in their support.

It is a sad reflection of our decaying standards of morality when a theatre of that calibre is faced with financial crisis. I believe that a society’s morality is measured by the art it produces. Art reflects our heritage, it crystallizes what we believe in and what we will fight to preserve through generations. It is therefore insulting that Eurocentric work is evaluated by many theatre critics and Durban theatre judges as the yardstick in theatre in South Africa. Have they forgotten the richness of our stories? Perhaps their archaic views stupefied by traditional notions of theatre practice are unable to accommodate Afrocentricism. I shudder to think that the fact that authentic South African work is unlikely to come with study aids providing interpretations of the work, that this may indeed be preventing our theatre critics from understanding African work.

As a theatre producer who has supported South African work for six years, I have observed significant racial prejudices in theatre. The amount of press coverage afforded to Eurocentric work and the endless accolades in the form of theatre awards and critical appraisal is clearly orchestrated to preserve the interests of a particular group of people.

Let us not forget that the architects of Apartheid created a system of oppression of other race groups because of fear of their own ignorance and lack of innovation preventing them from competing in an open market. It is not surprising that KZN, being the last outpost for colonialism, has perpetuated a similar system in the performing arts. So, in the grander scheme of things, it is bemusing when so much effort is made by theatre critics and judges to promote Eurocentricism in South African theatre.

Thank you Lebo M, Ismail Mohammed, Max du Preez and the other dedicated artists/journalists who have brought into the public domain the racial prejudices we still face in our democratic South Africa. Perhaps the next time that one of our theatres stage yet another production of My Fair Lady or Shirley Valentine or some other such Eurocentric work, I will holiday in Europe where I can see an authentic staging of such work or delight in a staging of a South African work.

After all, our South African writers have received more accolades internationally than they have locally. - Shantal Singh, Theatre Producer/Clinical Psychologist, Durban




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart