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Rhodos Festival Edition 2011
Magazines | Education 2011-06-27 03:13:33
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    A collaboration of excellence The Rhodes University Community Newsletter Festival Edition June 2011 page 5

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    Rhodos: Festival Edition Produced by: Communications and Marketing Division Co-Editors: Adrienne Carlisle Zamuxolo Matiwana Writers: Jeannie McKeown Cathy Gush Sarah-Jane Bradfield Anna-Karien Otto Zamuxolo Matiwana Photography Editor: Sophie Smith Photographers: Sophie Smith Paul Greenway /3P Photography Judith Doubell Anna-Karien Otto Dianne Jordan (design Robert Haxton) Jen Schneeberger Richard Antrobus Jane Buckland Zamuxolo Matiwana Thank you very much to everyone who supplied us with images. Design & Production: Sally Dore A Taste for the macabre Drama Masters student Debbie Robertson is making her debut as a director with psychological thriller/drama Taste, which is part of the Student Theatre programme. Her work is enigmatically described in the Festival programme: "Like any stylish fine dining, the main course is far more succulent than the starter, and for dessert? You never know what might be cooking." Inspired by thoughts around food in our society, Robertson first thought of the idea for the play while writing down some ideas in her journal during her Honours year. She then found some interesting links between what people consider a delicacy and others taboo. "This made me think of how we all have a different moral compass, yet how we often indulge in sex, food, wine or even in the negative way we treat people. So the overriding question I asked myself was: how much of people's true selves will be revealed if society's rules or boundaries were taken away?" The play was devised and workshopped with the entire cast of seven, using the Peter Greenaway film The Cook, the Wife, the Thief and her Lover as well as Roald Dahl's short stories Taste and Poison as inspirational springboards. It centres around a group of friends who go away for the weekend and "play games with each other, but by their own rules". She said this reveals what often lies hidden behind the reasons for honesty, revenge, sex and betrayal. Robertson said it had been challenging yet satisfying that they all worked on the text and characters together. "It has allowed the actors to really engage with their characters, because the character was devised by the actor from the very beginning." This was done by listening to music, writing character sketches, brainstorming and improvisations. "This does mean, however, that there are often changes to the script, but everyone is really understanding of that," she added. In one exercise the cast mimed to music and in another they asked each other questions 'in character'. "Therefore what emerges becomes the character they instinctively want to portray. Some of the dynamics between the different characters evolved from this excavation," said Robertson. Transcending space and pushing limitations "Transmit, transform and transport" is how the media release describes inTranceit. And these words encapsulate exactly what these three performances are all about. Three Masters students: Gavin Krastin (Choreography), Jen Schneeberger (Contemporary Performance) and Nadine Joseph (Choreography) are presenting some innovative site-specific physical theatre pieces on the Fringe this year. Krastin's piece is entitled sub- and will be performed in over ten spaces at Nombulelo Secondary School. The impulse driving the piece sprang from "feeling disenchanted with being sedentary, sitting in a darkened theatre, where the audience doesn't always engage, like watching TV". In sub- the audience is involved in the progression of the dramatic action. Because some of the events occur simultaneously, the narrative is not linear- "a dehierarchisation" - better described as "moving from side to side" rather than from beginning to end. Schneeberger chose Jean Anouilh's translation of Antigone to present a series of installations and vocal performances theatre through which two guides lead the audience. Employing the techniques of Meredith Monk, she describes it as "exploring an aural landscape, revealing the semiotic that exists in language". As she emphasises, this is not simple dialogue, "it's where words come apart, where the human voice growls, chatters and screams as easily as it speaks". Joseph has entitled her performance dis.clo.sure as it deals with the loss of women's voices in a post apocalyptic world. "It tells the story of a woman who will become a prisoner of war if no one does anything to help her." Exploring issues around rape and sexual violence, Joseph employed the Stanislavski technique of memory recall to draw on experiences from her own life as well as from the cast's lives. For the first time this year, the pieces will be examined as part of the practical research component of the Masters degree, with the dissertation component forming part of the research framework. Joseph says it has been important to them to showcase what they have been producing as a Department. "For all of us this is a crystallisation of what we've been doing over the years," adds Schneeberger. Joseph agrees: "By opening up the performance in a different way, it allows other voices to be heard. We're evoking change, pushing ourselves." "It's not just theatre, it's an experience," Schneeberger concludes. TWO The Rhodes University Community Newsletter

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    showcase Rhodes students showcase talent at National Arts Festival Fine Art Head of Department, Professor Dominic Thorburn Music and Musicology Head of Department, Dr Jeff Brukman Drama Head of Department, Professor Andrew Buckland Festival Edition | June 2011 The National Arts Festival is Grahamstown's great midyear extravaganza - an unmatched opportunity for artists to showcase their talents. Rhodes University plays a central role in the Fest, as it is affectionately known, with the Departments of Drama, Music and Fine Art spearheading the University's contribution. This year, that contribution will be larger than ever before. Prof Andrew Buckland, 2010 Fleur de Cap nominee and Head of the Drama Department, has seen numerous Festivals, and could be forgiven for feeling slightly jaded. This year, however, he is full of enthusiasm over an innovation that will, see the Drama Masters by Coursework students presenting their practical pieces on the Fringe. In line with a world-wide shift towards Practice-as-Research - a paradigm which views creative performance as a valid research output - the emphasis has been shifted towards the practical section of the MA course and the presentation of the practical has moved to the middle of the second year of study. This, says Buckland, allows students to substantially improve their production values, and gives external examiners the opportunity to view the productions with an audience present. Joseph and Jen Schneeberger present their Masters pieces under the title inTranceit, which is described in the Festival programme as "an evocative collection of site-specific work". Schneeberger's take on contemporary performance sees her using the text of Antigone to explore vocal performance; choreographers Krastin and Joseph present sub- and dis.clo.sure respectively. With the theme of Transmit, Transform and Transport linking the productions, audiences will gather at the Rhodes Theatre and be transported to the various venues as part of the performance. "It's not your typical fare," says Buckland. Rhodes University is also presenting Taste on the Student Theatre programme. Directed by first year Masters student Deborah Robertson, it is described as "thrilling, comic and delicious." The Festival is an organisational hub for the Drama Department, acting as a crucible for Drama students and, in addition, allowing them to observe a great variety of live theatre not otherwise available in Grahamstown. In addition, Buckland describes the advantages to current students of viewing alumni on stage, and realising that the honing of one's craft is not something that ends with graduation. Dr Jeffrey Brukman, Head of the Music Department, explains that as the National Arts Festival falls in University vacation time, it is generally only postgraduate students who are able to perform. This year, BMus fourth year student Mia Pistorius is doing a series of five solo recitals and piano duo Jacque du Plessis (MMus student) and Andrew Duncan (BMus fourth year) present Four Hands. The venue for both these shows is the Beethoven Room in the Music Department (Beethoven House). Acclaimed pianist and Senior Lecturer in the Music Department, Catherine Foxcroft, will be performing with the Grahamstown Sextet on the Arena programme. The Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) students are also in the spotlight for Festival 2011. The Fine Arts Department is holding its inaugural postgraduate exhibition, which is entitled Wet Paint in an allusion to the largely exploratory nature of the mid-degree works on display. Head of Department, Prof Dominic Thorburn, says MFA students are invited to showcase an aspect of their work-in-progress towards their final presentation. It is hoped that this exhibition will serve as a mid-degree touchstone for students engaged in the two-year long course, he says. Thorburn and Senior Lecturer Maureen de Jager will co-curate the exhibition, the venue for which is the Alumni Gallery in the Albany Museum, and MFA students will take turns to act as guides to the artworks. The annual Student Exhibition, which showcases undergraduate work in the airy space of the Fine Arts Department building on Somerset Street, will again comprise high calibre work in a variety of media, both traditional and contemporary. This Exhibition has built up a considerable following, and is a valuable marketing tool for the Rhodes School of Fine Art, both during the Main Festival and the Schools Festival that follows it. Jen Scheeberger - Antigone Theatre in motion THREE

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    Flicker Tshini Kwedini premiers at Fest Rhodes alumnus Richard Antrobus, who created and performed in the critically acclaimed Stilted at last year's Festival, will be premiering his new show Tshini Kwedini this year. Antrobus, who completed his BA (Hons) in Drama at Rhodes University in 2004, said he is excited about being involved in the directing role, alongside another Rhodes alumnus, Tristan Jacobs. "Although I've been in a lot of performances, I'm new to directing. It's always a bigger job than you Celebrated Rhodes alumna and award-winning physical theatre practitioner and choreographer Athena Mazarakis returns to the National Arts Festival this year. Directed once again by Gerard Bester, Mazarakis and Craig Morris play a couple desperately clinging to the way of life they know in Flicker, described as an "edgy physical theatre work." Mazarakis' trademark exploration of the interaction between the human body and the digital arts is taken a step further with the electronic presence of theatre great Andrew Buckland woven into the production. The Festival programme describes Flicker as combining "innovative digital art with a compelling physical language to tell a surreal tale of great urgency". Within the world created by the actors, time is running out, and the protagonists' smallest actions impact visibly on the world around them, accelerating its "literal dissolving and disappearance beneath their feet". Buckland explains the apparent contradiction of having a theatrical presence, while not being actually present, as speaking to the idea of performance. The show, he says, "is concerned with the act of performance, the performer's attitude to performance and the relationship the actors have with both themselves and the audience." Mazarakis and Morris, who are rehearsing in Johannesburg, have incorporated Buckland into the production in the form of digital inserts, which he has been recording over the past month in response to their questions sent to him via the internet. Buckland calls Mazarakis "an extraordinary artiste". She won the Silver 2010 Standard Bank Ovation Award in the Physical Theatre category for elev(i)ate 2 and, along with the team of Morris and Bester, was responsible for the award-winning production Attachments No 1-7. Flicker "takes the idea that every little thing you do really does make a difference", a message becoming ever more urgent as the threats to our planet increase in severity with every day that goes by. anticipate, because it involves so many areas," he said. Co-director Jacobs, who graduated from Rhodes with a BA (Hons) in Drama in 2009, has been continuously involved in Rhodes-affiliated productions since and while he has also never directed before either, he said he's up for the challenge. Being an experienced performer, Jacobs said he "knows what it's like to be a performer being directed, so in my capacity as co-director now I try and imagine switching the roles around." Describing the play as a "simple and enjoyable, heart-warming tale of overcoming obstacles and finding one's destiny", Antrobus said the show is filled with humour and celebration. Using members of his community circus skills development initiative, OddBody Theatre Collaborative, Antrobus said the show provides a visual spectacle with circus elements of song, dance, clowning, music, stilts, juggling, acrobatics, and other circus tricks. "The show is a family event that has something in it for everyone," he said. The two describe Grahamstown as a good training base for aspiring theatremakers as it provides access to venues, and various sources of expertise. Antrobus and Jacobs say they are learning to deal with the complex dynamics involved in theatre production. "Theatre contributes hugely to a cultural festival, which otherwise risks the danger of falling into the trap of simply becoming a bazaar. It is intangible and watching it is an experience that you can only take away with you in your hearts and memories. It is food for the soul," said Antrobus. theatre Antrobus will also be involved in a further two productions involving old Rhodians: Beelzebub, directed by Rhodes alumna Brink Scholtz, and 3 Acts of Love, directed by Bauke Snyman, which features Rhodes alumni Sheena Stannard and Sarah Seymour. The Butcher Brothers Festival favourite, and 2010 Standard Bank Ovation winner, The Butcher Brothers returns to Grahamstown this year, with five performances at The Hangar. It's an example of the close ties and support network that Rhodes University gives its alumni. Many of the cast and crew - including Stage Manager Wesley Deintjie (Rhodes 2003) - are old Rhodians, while director Sylvaine Strike studied in Cape Town. Set in a family butchery in 1950's South Africa, Jaques de Silva (Rhodes 2004) and Mongi Mthombeni (Rhodes 1999) play eponymous characters; Mthombeni filling the role of a prematurely retired ballroom dancer with a dependence on alcohol, and De Silva playing Boy, the loyal worker who in fact keeps the butchery going. Incredibly for a play which relies on the emotional currency of the players, both actors are masked throughout, a feat which de Silva and Mthombeni, both of whom have previously worked with Eastern Cape Drama Company Ubom!, manage with consummate skill. The comfortable, well-worn routines that exist between the two are shattered with the unexpected arrival of a baby, and their lives take on what has been described as a "strange and rather dark route." The mask-work was first conceived of and brought to the stage by Strike and Assistant Director Daniel Buckland (Rhodes 2003), and is presented in association with the Dark Laugh Theatre Company. In a review by Robyn Sassen in the Artslink.co.za publication, the choreographic and sound-based syncopations are highly praised, with the interweaving of tango music and the sound effects for the knives and meat chunks being described by her as "beautiful, lending the work the kind of spontaneous madness evoked by William Kentridge in his animated dance work with kitchen appurtenances." Sassen sums up The Butcher Boys by saying "A fresh-faced play with no words, much blood and quite a lot of heart (both) warms and darkens the cockles." FOUR The Rhodes University Community Newsletter

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    Festival Edition | June 2011 A collaboration of excellence What started as whispers in the Drama Department corridors between two major companies' artistic directors has now finally materialised. Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company and First Physical Theatre Company will collaborate for the first time during the 2011 National Arts Festival. "There is great excitement all round. Both companies are well known for their excellence in producing thrilling works of theatre, yet primarily in separate genres," said Ms Sarah Roberson, Ubom! Projects and Marketing Manager. Commenting on behalf of both companies she said they now had a chance to "merge our skills and feed off each other". "It's an exciting learning process, and chance for thoughtful exchange; both in conceptual work and in the physical presentation of the production." More good news for the collaboration is that the production was accepted to premiere on the Arena platform and both companies were elated. "It's a real honour to already be accepted on the Arena in only its second year running," said Roberson. "The National Arts Festival promotes it as a bridge between the Fringe and Main programmes, and so we're confident that with the exposure and prestige the Arena will garner, acceptance to the Main programme won't be far off. This year, though, we're just really excited to bring such an excellent production to this platform and prove the Eastern Cape matches up with the 'big-city' companies." After a successful National Arts Festival in 2010, the two companies are looking forward to once again electrifying their audiences. Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company and First Physical Theatre each scooped an inaugural Standard Bank Ovation Award last year. Festinos can expect more breathtaking production from the collaboration. This year, the two companies are bringing festinos Wreckage. It is described as hilarious, deeply moving and "the meeting of worlds that unsettles, stuns, and delights". Wreckage cast member and Drama Head of Department, Prof Andrew Buckland, is an experienced, immensely talented and versatile performer. He has been involved in theatre since the 1980s. Roberson said the directing and choreographic team, Brink Scholtz and Athina Vahla, had created a theatrical world that "draws audience members into an experience they won't easily forget". "Sensational singing, daring dance, captivating performances, an impressive set design by Barati Montshiwa, and lighting design by Guy Nelson, combining to present two centuries of Eastern Cape (hi)stories promises this production will be an epic, enlivening event," she added. Wreckage was inspired by the stories of shipwrecks along the Eastern Cape coastline during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Eastern Cape coastline is the last resting place of many ships from Europe that brought settlers, soldiers, merchants, fortune seekers and missionaries to the Eastern Cape shores, said Prof Buckland. "Many of their crew and passengers cast ashore in very unfamiliar, often hostile environments. The encounters between these castaways and the indigenous people of the Eastern Cape have spawned stories, fables, myths and 'histories' for hundreds of years and provide a rich source for theatrical adventure," added Buckland. The title was chosen to symbolise "the age of wrecks and the evocative imagery which comes from thinking about total destruction". "More specifically, the impetus came from The Sunburnt Queen by author Hazel Crampton, leading to the idea of the shipwreck, which became a gateway to explore on a more universal level the notion of collision and clashing, and what that means to us all," he added. excellence Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company and First Physical Theatre Company are both associated with Rhodes University. Their main aim is to give back to the Grahamstown community and surrounding areas through arts. FIVE

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    Finding a single language Writer/director Brink Scholtz has been exceedingly busy since she left Grahamstown at the end of last year. Scholtz studied Psychology and Drama at Rhodes and spent five years working for Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company, initially as a performer and then as resident director, after which she left Grahamstown to become an independent director. But she is back with three productions at the 2011 National Arts Festival: Beelzebub (with mime artist and legendary stiltwalker Richard Antrobus); Loss and Having with Nicola Elliot and Sonja Smit (in which she also performs), and Wreckage with acclaimed visual and performance artist, Athina Valha. "A common element in all these pieces is that I have collaborated with very interesting choreographers," says Scholtz. "I deliberately feel like I don't want to play it safe. It's quite scary, quite thrilling." It was a very busy 2010, as a winner of the Writing Beyond the Fringe programme, she travelled to Belgium and the Netherlands on an exchange tour to attend the Passaporta Literature Festival. She then spent some time in Cape Town directing two plays: Die Sendeling and Spyt. Her mother, the novelist Ingrid Winterbach, wrote the latter. Both plays were staged at the KKNK, Aardklop Festival and Stellenbosch University's Woordfees earlier this year. Scholtz says it was wonderful working with her mother. "She's not into fixed meaning, so she was quite delighted by new possibilities for staging and interpretation." The script for Wreckage was devised by Brink, choreographer Athina Valha and the cast, including Andrew Buckland, who also performs in the play. "It was tricky to negotiate our way through the story as the performers speak different languages, both linguistically and culturally and in terms of their craft. Because the play deals with cultural collision - the European survivors of shipwrecks along the Eastern Cape coast - it was interesting to recognise these parallels within ourselves." As a director she likes to spend time getting to know the cast and how they tell stories, almost like learning to speak a different language. "I am the one scripting the narrative, constantly using the stories of the cast, drawing on the way they tell stories." She says working with different choreographers was a bit like bringing two different worlds together. "It was tricky because the fields overlap but the methodologies are different. It's not a question of writing the script and then choreographing bits of it. It's about finding a single language," she says. With the physical theatre work Loss and Having, Scholtz teamed up with two of her close friends, Nicola Elliott and Sonja Smit in a double bill of what she describes as the "archival, museum pieces". Smit's piece, entitled How Sonja Smit explains soccer to a dead dog is "a very odd response to the Fifa Soccer World Cup" and was performed at Spier Contemporary last year. The Dance Umbrella 2011 commissioned Elliott's Proximity Loss and Having, where it was warmly received. Scholtz co-directed both pieces and will be performing in Loss and Having. For Beelzebub, Scholtz was the writer and director along with jazz artist and choreographer Levern Botha. Featuring Richard Antrobus (whose background is dance and mime) and Noluvuyo Shwempe, who trained with Janet Buckland's Amaphiko dance group, again the focus was on bringing different stories together as the script was strongly devised by the cast. come from two very text-based productions (Spyt and Die Sendeling) it was a kind of opening up to finding the language in a different way. The first way in is always language - I'm quite verbal by nature. So it was trying to find how language can become a physical thing too, how it can become an image - the immediacy of action and image," she concludes. On Cue What would the National Arts Festival be without Cue newspaper, available from a friendly vendor every morning and helping thousands of festival-goers plan their day? Now in its 25th year, Cue is an institution, and the longest running independent festival newspaper in the world. Produced from the dynamic Africa Media Matrix Building, on the Rhodes University campus, Cue is, however, no longer simply a newspaper. The undertaking has grown from humble beginnings to become CueMedia, under the chairmanship of Brian Garman. CueMedia incorporates not only the familiar tabloid-style paper but also CueOnline, established as new media began to make its presence felt in South Africa, and which draws in and creates a virtual home for CueTV, CueRadio, and CuePix. In fact, the Africa Media Matrix transforms for the duration of the Arts Festival into a fully fledged news agency, staffed predominantly by the Journalism and Media Studies students. This provides an unparalleled opportunity for them to gain hands-on experience. SIX The Rhodes University Community Newsletter

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    Traversing the world of theatre and music Aerial artist, composer and choreographer are just three ways to describe Shaun Acker. While studying towards his Bachelor of Music degree and Masters in Drama at Rhodes University, Acker explored many intriguing artistic avenues. He won the Sanlam Prize for Best Actor for his portrayal of Mr O in Die Bannelinge and performed at the Circus Hippodrome at Gold Reef City, where he won the award for Most Promising Circus Artist in 2004. At this year's National Arts Festival, he will feature as "a ghost musician" in the cabaret clown noir spectacle Kardiávale, directed by Emilie Starke. Presented by a conspiracy of clowns -- a production company that won a Standard Bank Ovation Award in 2010 -- the play also features fellow Rhodes Drama alumnus, Rob Murray. Festival Edition | June 2011 "Since Kardiávale is a cabaret, my role is to accompany the action on stage, be it ambient or song accompaniment. Between me and another musician, Natalie Mason, we perform a combination of instruments, vocals and props. I perform piano, keyboard, saxophone, clarinet, percussion and props while Natalie performs viola, piano and percussion. We also chip in as the voices of a few offstage characters," says Acker. Lately, he has been playing the saxophone with Windworx, a non-profit orchestra comprised of over 30 wind and brass instruments. Theatre-wise, he has collaborated with City Varsity's The Domain (to be seen on the student theatre programme) as well as with Brink Scholtz and Ingrid Winterbach for Spyt, which was performed at the Stellenbosch University Woordfees and KKNK earlier this year. As a composer, Acker has created music for many productions, including Reza de Wet's musical play, Heathcliff Goes Home. This year he composed for made in order to fly, a physical theatre piece choreographed by Nicola Elliott. He describes the process as "creating a nondescript soundscape which draws on, and amalgamates, subtle electronica, industrial sound, environmental sound, and human breath". Acker learnt the solo trapeze while he and his family were touring with Boswell-Wilkie and Brian's Circus and has trained with worldrenowned aerialists Tsogt Bayasgalan and Stanley Bower. He says he is delighted to see no less than three aerial performances on the Festival programme and hopes that this will help in opening a more permanent platform for contem-porary aerial dance performance in South Africa. Excited to be returning to Grahamstown for the Festival, he says the six years he spent with the Rhodes Drama department taught him "how to recognise excellence in innovative contemporary trends" which makes him "rarely satisfied with anything I see- and I'm not shy about saying that." He says the most valuable thing he has learnt is that if you are creating or performing work, is to rigorously question and pull apart your production. "Productions that are the most arresting are ones where attention has been paid to the barely perceptible performance details. That's what delineates intelligent theatre from mindless entertainment," he concludes. music Five Men Loraine Beaton, an Honours student in the Rhodes Drama Department, will be featuring Five Men, a show designed to challenge our conceptions of love and relationships. "I wanted to make something that deals with romantic relationships and how we get involved in them so recklessly," she said. Beaton, who holds an undergraduate degree in fine art from Pretoria University and has a background in English and Philosophy, said the play gives a preview into "how guys think" and the perpetual struggle to find the 'ONE'. "We all want to be with the right one, and for it never to end, but yet we get involved in relationships we know we shouldn't and we know we're going to get damaged. This play looks at those complexities," she said. Beaton moved to Rhodes at the beginning of the year after signing up for the Honours degree in Drama, and said she has found the experience of directing theatre under supervision to be challenging and invigorating. Having written Five Men two years ago without any formal theatrical training, she said looking back she feels she could have done some things differently, but feels this is all part of the challenge of maturing as an artist. With her background in Fine Art, Philosophy and English, she said she is better equipped to produce quality work. "My background has taught me how to think like an artist, and theatre is the way I'm doing it. The point is I want to make good theatre," she said. SEVEN

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    Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2011 - Drama and Music Department Alumni Wayne Thornley - Director Thornley never imagined his first involvement in a major motion picture would be as the director of a fulllength animated movie. But sure enough, in 2012, when Zambezia (Triggerfish Studios) hits movie theatres, Thornley will get to see his name lead hundreds of producers, animators and CGI characters on the credit roll. It's a big deal for someone who fell into animation after seven years of slogging it out as an actor and director on live-action films. Luckily, 33-year-old Thornley is in love with the freedom of the animation process. "I want wind, I get wind," he says. "I want a talking elephant, I get a talking elephant. It's amazing." adventure story is racing against two other CGI animated features currently in production to be the first to come out of South Africa. Overseas, the film has been eliciting gasps from production studios when they learn how small Thornley's budget was. All thanks, he says, to the incredible family of producers and animators he has been working with. - Eric Axelrod. Rob van Vuuren - Comedian, actor, writer, director Who says men can't multitask? Not Rob van Vuuren. The blonde-moustached godfather of all things zef may be better known as Corne's sidekick Twakkie, but Van Vuuren isn't just a comedian. He's also an actor, playwright, director ... and a ballroom dancer. Since he graduated with Honours in Drama from Rhodes University in 1997 Van Vuuren has been a regular on the nation's TV screens, not only as Twakkie in SABC 2's The Most Amazing Show, but, as a presenter of SA's Got Talent and Crazy Games. In 2008 he donned top hat and tails to win the celebrity dance competition Strictly Come Dancing. This year he bagged the inaugural Comic's Choice breakthrough act award. But Van Vuuren believes the best is yet to come, otherwise "there would be no reason to keep going". His most valuable lesson in life? He channels his inner Twakkie and answers: "Don't be kak!" - Aphiwe Deklerk. Bongani Ndodana-Breen James Cairns - Writer, director, performer "When you need to make a strategic decision, ask yourself: 'what would China do?'" It's pointless taking James Cairns seriously. He's old-school comedy; the kind that turns a stepladder, some clever "toons" and a few lighting effects into an alternative reality filled with characters you want to either hug or hit. Either way, you have to care because his genius is always tangible, even if his props aren't. On stage Cairns is a physical theatre practitioner par excellence, morphing between characters like a man possessed. Offstage this writer, director, television actor and comedian is as skilled and sharp as a Swiss Army knife. His plays, Rat and Brother Number, received standing ovations; his one-man tours de force, The Sitting Man and Dirt, beat Andrew Buckland to win the 2010 Naledi award for Best Performance in a One- Person Show. That's the league he's in. And he's only just beginning to climb the imaginary ladder. - Cat Pritchard. Bongani Ndodana-Breen shatters any conception that the world of classical music is a stuffy, Eurocentric anomaly in modern South Africa. In 1998 he became the youngest classical composer to win a Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music. He is also the only composer from Africa to have been featured in a concert comprised entirely of his own works in the prestigious Composer Portraits series at the Miller Theatre in New York. Like many South African classical artists Ndodana-Breen has found more fame and fortune abroad than at home, but his latest work, Winnie: The Opera, which premiered in South Africa in April, looks set to change that. alumni Ndodana-Breen is inspired by his heritage, and traditional Xhosa music feeds into much of what he does as a contemporary classical musician. He hopes to continue in this vein, writing more "operas and other works that continue to give a South African voice in classical music". - Lisa van Wyk. Source: Mail and Guardian newspaper EIGHT The Rhodes University Community Newsletter

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    For Future Generations african music Rhodes University's International Library of African Music (ILAM), which has the largest archive of African music in sub-Saharan Africa, will feature prominently on the "must do" list of many National Arts Festival music enthusiasts. For Future Generations, an exhibition showcasing ILAM founder Hugh Tracey's work in recording and documenting the indigenous music of sub-Saharan Africa, will be on display for the duration of the Festival at the Albany History Museum, where it opened very successfully during the recent SciFest 2011. This exhibition represents the outreach and education component of a Rand Merchant Bank Expressions Programme that funded ILAM's two-year cataloguing and digitising project. The project's aim is to bring the heritage of African music, painstakingly preserved by Hugh Tracey, to a wider audience. In the opening ceremony of the exhibition, speakers extolled Hugh Tracey's consummate skill as a researcher, and praised both his dedication and that of his son, Emeritus Professor Andrew Tracey, to collecting and preserving African music. For Future Generations displays a selection of 20 African instruments from the Tracey collection, held by ILAM, as well as showcasing Hugh Tracey's print publications and audio recordings. There is video footage of "mine-dancing", Shona music and story-telling and Chopi xylophone orchestras. The footage also includes a 1939 Hugh Tracey film of Zulu bow music projected onto a big screen. Andrew Tracey's film from the 1970's, System of the Mbira is also shown. Display cabinets feature artefacts from field research while photographs taken during field excursions bring Hugh Tracey's work to vibrant life. A handsome exhibit catalogue features a highly scientific and never-before published 1932 report on the music of the Shona written by Hugh Tracey for the Carnegie Foundation. Also included in the catalogue is a 20-item CD featuring a field recording of each instrument displayed in the exhibition. For Future Generations will be at the Albany History Museum until 30 July 2011. Festinos will be able to take advantage of two scheduled 'walkabouts' at the Museum on the first and last Sundays of the Festival. ILAM is also holding a free Sundowner concert at the Monument from 5pm - 6pm on Sunday July 3, and free daily lunch-hour concerts from 1pm - 2pm at the ILAM Amphitheatre throughout the Festival. All this is being done in collaboration with the South African Post Office, which is launching a series of 10 commemorative stamps featuring African instruments at the Sundowner Concert on July 3. ILAM will also host early evening performances of A Kalimba Encantadora, directed by Andrew Tracey and featuring Decio Gioielli from Brazil, Geoffrey and Andrew Tracey, Chris Carver and Elijah Madiba from African Musical Instruments and ILAM. It is described on the National Arts Festival Programme as "an hour of musical indulgence". Festival Edition | June 2011 NINE

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    Fest showcases Rhodes Fine Art students' work Rhodes University Fine Art Masters students will, for the first time, exhibit their work at the National Arts Festival. Billed in the programme as a "dynamic and insightful mid-stream 'show and tell'" the exhibition entitled Wet Paint will be in the Rhodes Alumni Gallery (Albany Museum) and consists of photographs, graphics, sculpture, drawing, paintings installation and digital arts. Wet Paint will run concurrently with the undergraduates' exhibition in the Rhodes School of Art Gallery, which has become an annual feature on the Festival programme. This is a great opportunity for both postgraduate and undergraduate students to showcase their work to festinos and the local community. "Wet Paint is a show of Masters of Fine Art (MFA) work-in-progress," says masters student, Mark Wilby. "So while there is some obligation to participate, the exhibition is a great opportunity to test current, developing material before a critical audience. This is, of course, intimidating, but it's also very useful to get a sense of public response at this stage," he adds. "More often than not, the work one sees in a gallery represents an intended punctuation, an exclamation mark perhaps, or a neat summation of ideas." showcase Wilby will be exhibiting pieces of work that are more like "excerpts" from an ongoing narrative, "one that begins elsewhere, and might continue, somehow, onward while taking a momentary turn through the gallery". Constrained? | Oil on canvas Lindi Lombard, third year student. A little water clears us of this deed | Mixed Media and plastic bags Francois Knoetze, third year student. TEN The Rhodes University Community Newsletter

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