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Arts festival celebrating South African democracy awarded £290,000 for 2014 tour

  • Date: 30 January 2014
  • Area: Midlands

A festival of contemporary South African visual and performing arts has been awarded £291,533 to tour across the country.

UK Arts International, based in Worcester, has secured the funding as part of our £45 million Strategic touring programme.

In October and November 2014, they will take their biennial Afrovibes Festival to venues in Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Lancaster, Herefordshire, Berkshire and east London.

The festival will introduce new audiences to captivating and thought-provoking performances and exhibitions which celebrate the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa.

In 1994 the first multi-racial democratic election took place in South Africa, ending apartheid. Twenty years on, Afrovibes 2014 will celebrate this historic event with a season of artistic collaborations between South African and British artists.

The festival will feature music, dance, photography, film and theatre, all produced since the end of apartheid.

Programmed by the artistic director of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, James Ngcobo, these selected works reflect on issues relevant to South Africa today, but also resonate with UK audiences. 

Together with performances, exhibitions and film screenings, audiences will be able to take part in pop-up photo shoots, workshops and master-classes, run by artists and dance companies from both the UK and South Africa, including Live Theatre in Newcastle, Birmingham’s Ace Dance and Durban-based photographer Tyler Dolan.

At the heart of the festival will be the Township Café, where audiences can enjoy South African food, performances and post-show talks, as well as meet and network with the artists.

In every town and city the festival tours to it will be a unique experience. Working with the host venues and arts organisations from each area, Afrovibes will create a tailor-made fringe festival programme for local audiences to enjoy.  

In Nottingham people can expect to see groups like the Mouthy Poets at Township Café events, while in Birmingham, an exhibition of photographs of veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle by Vanley Burke will provide a local context for the festival.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “AfroVibes introduces world-class South African art to audiences in the UK and I’m pleased the Arts Council is able to support this tour. Reflecting on 20 years of democracy in South Africa, this year’s programme will showcase some really engaging work which I’m sure will capture people’s attention. The tour plans to visit a number of areas which rely largely on touring for much of their arts provision. By working closely with local arts organisations, the festival aims to form long-lasting connections with its new audiences.”

Jan Ryan, Director, UK Arts International and producer, Afrovibes, said: “” We are absolutely delighted that Afrovibes will once again be coming the UK. We first presented the festival here in 2010 and since then it has grown in every way. This funding will not only enable us to bring some of the best contemporary South African performing and visual arts to UK audiences, but also to provide an opportunity for local artists and audiences to engage with the work in a deeper and more meaningful way.”