We attended the media launch of the 2012 Arts Alive Festival in Braamfontein whereby it was announced that Johannesburg will, once again, host South Africa’s premier celebration of the arts when the annual Arts Alive Festival hits the streets and theatres of the City in September for the 20th year in a row. Clr. Chris Vondo, the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development says the two-week festival, dubbed “10 Days in September” will give residents and visitors to the City exciting opportunities to experience some of the best talents in the fields of dance, music, theatre and the fine arts.
For ten days in September Johannesburg will be transformed into a giant stage where our artists, actors, directors and musicians can display their formidable gifts to appreciative audiences. “Arts Alive will confirm Johannesburg’s position as South Africa’s cultural capital and a city that can host world-class events that are accessible to all communities,” says MMC Vondo. The Festival demonstrates the City’s commitment to create an enabling environment for the citizens of Johannesburg for the conservation and celebration of artistic expression and heritage. The Growth and Development Strategy 2040 adopted by Johannesburg provides for the creation of opportunities for the upliftment and advancement of communities through sports and recreation as well as library and information services. Arts Alive signals the start of the summer season for a City that will have a jam-packed programme of cultural, sporting and community festivals.
2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Arts Alive as the country’s premier showcase for dynamic live performances, art exhibitions and theatrical productions. This year the festival will consist of a number of inter-related events to cater to the tastes of a wide range of audiences: Jazz on the Lake will bring the smooth sounds of some of the country’s top performers, including multiple-award winners, Thandiswa Mazwai and Lira, to Zoo Lake on 2nd September. The outdoor concert will be followed by a series of performances throughout Johannesburg, including a youth festival at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.
Arts Alive 2012 will be spiced up considerably with the inclusion of Dance Umbrella 2 under the curatorship of Georgina Thomson and David April. The duo has lined up a performance series that will play out in various locations across Johannesburg, from Uncle Tom’s in Soweto through to Braamfontein’s Joburg Theatre. The Joburg Arts Alive International Festival has also joined forces with The Mail & Guardian Literary Festival this year, a collaboration which features amongst others ‘The Youngsters’ – a series of pocket books authored by prominent young South Africans Anele Mda, Khaya Dlanga, Danny K, Shaka Sisulu and Nik Rabinowitz.
Theatre at Arts Alive will provide an exciting combination of emerging and established talent this year, featuring the iconic “Bopha!” by Percy Mtwa; “Owl” starring the talented newcomer, Briony Horwitz, as well as “The Mother of all Eatings”, a satirical take on post-colonial corruption directed by Makhaola Ndebele. In total, there will be seven theatre productions as part of the “10 Days in September” programme.
Fine arts audiences will enjoy an abundant experience at the Joburg Arts Fair in the Sandton CBD while the renowned performance poet, Napo Masheane, will be a major draw card at the Speak The Mind Sessions – the spoken word festival.
Mr Vondo says Arts Alive will live up to its expectation to deliver a range of variety, arts and culture to Joburg audiences across a wide spectrum of disciplines and traditions.
“We want to draw in audiences from all age groups, social, economic and cultural background to ensure that this becomes the most inclusive and successful arts festival ever hosted in the country. And it remains the City’s commitment to ensure that all our facilities and open spaces are accessible to the public so that the principle of social cohesion is realised,” he says.