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JOBURG CITY THEATRES KEEPS CURTAIN UP DURING COVID19

Joburg City Theatres (JCT) operates Joburg Theatre, Roodepoort Theatre and Soweto Theatre to produce and present innovative and relevant indigenous and international entertainment programmes that promote diversity and social cohesion.

In an effort to sustain and promote the arts industry over the past months, JCT hosted live entertainment and edutainment productions to continue with its mandate of recognising the importance of growing, sustaining and promoting local talent. More importantly, the need to produce great stories and untold stories as a form of preserving the authenticity of our stories as a nation now more than ever during this trying period for the Arts sector.

While encouraging everyone to mask up, keeping a safe social distance and sanitize, JCT programmed performances on stage and tapped into the social media tools to allow artists to imagine new ways to engage with the idea of live-ness and community through a digital landscape.

The JCT creative Awakening Programme streamed on social media pages, included exercises like breathing and wellness classes, offering virtual entertainment for self-care . These sessions were facilitated by industry professionals such as Phenye Modiane, an opera spectacular conducting classes on the importance of breathing.

“Nothing can replace the live experience of being in the same room as the performer and seeing it live, or the communication or connection between audience members and artists. Whilst the pandemic has challenged the industry greatly, now more than ever we need to sustain and grow creative and artistic spaces & platforms”, says Ms Xoliswa Nduneni – Ngema, Chief Executive Officer for JCT.

JCT will present an exciting line-up for May and June 2021 to observe Africa Month and Youth month. The Africa Month celebrations will kick off at Soweto Theatre with The Battle of Isandlwana. KZN born Musician, historian and heritage enthusiast, Mbuso Khoza, will start on a high note with the third edition of the Isandlwana Battle Musical Lecture. The production looks at how the mighty British army suffered humiliation at the hands of Zulu warriors just over 140 years ago and will run from 26-30 May 2021 at Soweto Theatre. Mbuso Khoza will be accompanied by the Afrikan Heritage Ensemble, a 23-member a cappella group.

In partnership with Sound Proprietors, Soweto Theatre will host Africa Day Groove on 29 May 2021 – an all-day event with a line-up that is proudly African and making waves in the global arena. Urban Village, Maleh, Afrika Cele, Kitchenmess are among the live musicians to look forward to. In addition, an all-woman DJ collective featuring BrownPepperAnn, Sumthin Brown and Deniece Marz.

Joburg Theatre in partnership with the City of Johannesburg’s Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage will present REMEMBERING TUKU on 29-30 May 2021 as part of Africa Month celebrations by paying tribute to legendary, late Oliver Mtukudzi. This musically driven show will feature Tuku’s strongest and well loved compositions paying tribute to the internationally recognised cultural icon. The line-up features Selmor Mtukudzi, Vusi Mahlasela, Madosini, Ami Faku and Steve Dyer who is also the creative director of the tribute.

For our patrons who are still not comfortable with going out, they will also be catered for through Streaming Theatre from the comfort of their homes and celebrate Africa Month, with a series of six new showcases co-curated with Cultural Connections Africa and Serious, and a selection of shows from the INDABA IS take-over produced at Joburg Theatre. Streaming from 24 -28 May 2021 on: https://serious.org.uk/events/series/streams-from-africa

June is dedicated to the youth of 1976 who stood up against the apartheid government and laid down their lives fighting for freedom and the right to equal education and 2021 marks 45 years since the uprising . It is JCT’s mission to accelerate youth development through enhancing the teaching and learning experience of learners, programmes that stimulate an interest in the arts as a viable career path and the provision of opportunities for future arts practitioners and entrepreneurs.

Gregory Maqoma’s Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero is the production that was chosen by Joburg Theatre to celebrate Youth Month as it speaks stridently across borders and cultures. Cion returns to the The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from 18 June until 27 June 2021 accompanied by the Soweto Gospel Choir. For this season the production has twenty dancers and nineteen musicians on stage in an amplified production. In Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro, Maqoma draws inspiration from creations by two artists: the character Toloki in South African author Zakes Mda’s novel Cion, and music from French composer Maurice Ravel’s Boléro.

After four years of outreach work creating awareness about Soweto Theatre’s Music Tutorial Programme in over 80 schools and reaching over 8000 young people in Soweto and surrounding areas, Soweto Theatre’s Junior Orchestra is finally in full effect. The program is ready to present its offerings as a means of not only fulfilling the objectives of linking Soweto students to musical opportunities, theatrical productions, cultural exchanges and touring ventures but to also celebrate the program’s milestones.

In celebration of Youth Month, the Music Tutorial Program will curate a month long program through music education. The programme will be in collaboration with the Morris Isaacson Centre for Music and will consist of themed workshops, exploring the diverse musical approaches and the evolution of classical and jazz music post 1976. Each music centre will present one-week long historical music and themed workshops in line with Youth month. The workshops will be facilitated by the centres’ music teachers and young professional musicians of their choice. Showing the learned music that is classical and jazz to be accessible and within reach for the young musicians who may be looking to get into the music. All workshops will be attended by the centres’ students as well as youth and music students from surrounding schools. The music and themes for workshops will culminate into a three day concert from 25- 27 June 2021, featuring the young professional musicians – Gabi Motuba,Mandla Mlangeni, Mthunzi Mvubu and Sisonke Xonti Iphupho Lika Biko and Ayanda Zalekile facilitating the workshops.

  1. FREE WEEKLY WORKSHOPS on everything music, 3-25 June 2021. To register for call 010 446 1462
  2. Catch performances by MICM & JPO students 25, 26 June | 19h00 -20h30 @ Soweto Theatre, for only R100 a ticket
  3. Performances by MTP students 27 June | 15h00 – 17h00 @ Soweto Theatre for R100 a ticket.
  4. Get into the vibe every Thursday in June with Jam sessions – FREE ENTRY!

Roodepoort Theatre in partnership with the City of Johannesburg will present Region C Youth Arts Festival to celebrate Youth month from 04-05 June 2021. The festival covers arts industry education, career expo on day-1 and features arts performers competition with Awards Ceremony on day-2. Region C Youth Arts Festival is targeted at youth and focus will be on theatre, dance, music and poetry.

“Looking at international trends within the industry, we strive to continuously provide world class facilities at all times, this will enable us to accommodate patrons, production houses, creatives in line with the existing regulations. We need to envision a new idea of theatre that we can create while catering for the minimal audiences that we are allowed to host within our venues”, concludes Nduneni – Ngema.