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SW Theatre Group - SWTG

SW Theatre Group - SWTG

The SW theatre group is at the heart of work-package 1. The group was formed in February 2019 through a selection process that was facilitated by the CTDPS. An audition and interview call were put out through SWEAT’s safe space and outreach program with the help of a poster and flyer that was specially designed for this call. Through an auditions sub-committee, the SW steering committee were involved through the designing the flyer/poster auditions’ call as well as contributed to the planning of the audition workshops. In addition, the sub-committee worked alongside an audition panel made up of theatre and performance experts from the CTDPS. Performance auditions, officiated by the auditions panel took place over two separate days where professional judges through the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance studies officiated this process. In addition, an interview session was carried out for the technical team. A total of ten performers and three technical team group members were chosen, who are currently on probation till July this year. The Theatre Arts Admin Collective (TAAC) in Observatory Cape Town will be the main resident home for the SW theatre group throughout the entire project. The TAAC is a thriving theatre centre in the heart of Observatory. Built on the tenants of affordability, inclusivity and accessibility, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective has grown into a home for local theatre practitioners – a place where they can create work, develop skills, perform, engage in dialogue and meet and work with theatre practitioners who come from diverse backgrounds, whether cultural, social, economic or simply in skill and experience. More information on the TAAC can be found here: https://web.facebook.com/TheatreArtsAdmin/?_rdc=1&_rdr

We see the theatre and performance training to be divided into five clusters, four of which culminate in a performance.  The first focuses on participatory theatre as practiced and theorised by Brazilian theatre practitioner and activist Augusto Boal, who founded The Theatre of the Oppressed.  The SW theatre group will be introduced to improvisation as a tool for devising and performing theatre. Improvisation serves as a key tool across all clusters. This leads to training in Image Theatre, where still physical images are used to interrogate concepts, issues, beliefs, challenges and the like. This is followed by training in Forum Theatre, a form of participatory theatre where audience members are invited to suggest possible solutions or actions to challenges that are presented in the theatre piece. Presently, the group is going through this skills training carried out over 16 workshops facilitated by Delia Meyer  who is a lecturer at the CTDPS at the University of Cape Town. This cluster culminates in a Forum Theatre performance that will be devised and performed by the group at the beginning of August 2019.

We envisage the second cluster culminating in a physical theatre performance and involves training in contact improvisation, a form of dance improvisation that explores the principles of weight sharing, touch, and physical or movement awareness. The second aspect this cluster proposes to explore, is mime storytelling, inspired by the work of Jacques Lecoq. The approach  has been contextualised to respond to a South African context where people’s bodies are under constant threat of violation. Training in the Japanese dance form of Butoh, as taught and danced by South African performer and academic, jackï job, will round off the training in this cluster.  job studied Butoh in Japan and her research focuses on contextualising the form in South African.

Members of the Sex Worker Theatre with trainer Jackie job doing Butoh, a form of Japanese dance theatre.

We envisage the third cluster involving training in creative writing, singing as well as an investigation into voice as sonic material. This will culminate in a spoken word performance.

The fourth cluster involves training in object theatre, scenography and site specific theatre and will culminates in a public live art performance in the city of Cape Town.

We see the fifth cluster providing training in Arts Administration, which involves drawing up business plans, funding proposals, training in basic accounting, and also covers marketing and publicity strategies.  We think it is necessary to include this in the training in preparation for the launch of the first independent sex worker theatre company in South Africa.

In addition to the five clusters mentioned above, the company will receive training in script writing.  The idea is for all of the performances to be scripted into a published collection of performance texts that will be launched at the same time as the independent theatre company.

The final Global GRACE meeting in Cape Town, will provide the company with the space to showcase the work they would have made over the course of the project.  This idea is to curate an exhibition of these works or performances.  The independent theatre company and the publication of performance text will ideally be launched at this event.

SWTG with trainer Iman. This was taken on opening night (Nov 2019) of the performance Yeki Hambe: Let it go, after a 3 month training with Iman Isaacs, who directed the production.