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UJ Arts & Culture announces Con Cowan line-up

UJ Arts & Culture (a division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture) gears up for a diverse three-month theatre season presented at the Con Cowan Theatre.

Based on the University of Johannesburg’s Bunting Road Campus in Auckland Park, the Con Cowan Theatre will come alive with work set to appeal to young audiences, families & seasoned theatre lovers alike.

Roald Dhal’s magical James and the Giant Peach, enthusiastically performed by UJ students, kicks off the programme on the 17th August, followed later by Rehane Abrahams’ tour de force in Womb of Fire, which brings body politics into focus from 27th September.

“In Womb of Fire, Abrahams interrogates her own slave ancestry as well as her Khoekhoen, or first indigenous people, ancestry to examine the founding violence of colonialism and its continuing impact on the female body,” says Sara Machett, Director of Womb of Fire.

On 30th August, 20th September & 18th October UJ Arts & Culture will present the Out the Box Comedy in partnership with P.O.P. Art and Goliath & Goliath. The grand finale will be presented at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre on the Kingsway Campus on 10th November, and will feature 20 of South Africa’s best standup comedians.

A limited number of performances of Reza de Wet’s award-winning African Gothic (the English-language version of (Diepe Grond) will be presented as part of the final development phase of an interdisciplinary design project with the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture. This intensive collaboration has seen second year students, working in teams comprising all the disciplines in the faculty, competing for their designs and marketing strategies to be selected for the production.

The development run will feature a stellar cast including Liezl de Kock, Zak Hendrikz, Mpho Osei-Tutu and South African icon Thembi Mtshali-Jones, under the direction of Alby Michaels. The performances are scheduled to kick off on the 10th of October.

Wrapping up the season is Standard Bank Ovation Award winner Dear Mr Government may I have a meeting with you even though I’m six years old?, which has been in incubation at UJ Arts & Culture since 2016. Superbly performed by Cherae’ Halley and Bongile Lecoge-Zulu, the production is a tender retelling of what children are saying about their governments. Director Jessica Lejowa says this work is important because it shares the voices of children, and gives both adults and children a valuable opportunity for introspection and dialogue.

 

ABOUT THE PRODUCTIONS

About James and the Giant Peach

Written by: Roald Dhal

Directed by: Alby Michaels & Ayanda Bulose

Dates: 17 – 27 August

Venue: Con Cowan Theatre – Bunting Road Campus

Tickets: General public – R80 / Children under 12 R50 / UJ Students – R20 / Group sales (10+) – R60

One of Roald Dahl’s most poignantly quirky stories James and the Giant Peach is brought to life with elaborate soundscapes, colourful costumes, physical theatre, shadow puppetry and puppets. James is orphaned and is consequently sent to live with his two cruel aunts. With the help of a bit of magic, a peach on the once barren tree grows larger than the house. One night, James sneaks out to visit the peach, he sees an entrance at the bottom of the peach, and he begins to crawl into the peach and so begins a whirlwind of adventure.

Out the Box Comedy

Presented by UJ Arts & Culture in partnership with P.O.P. Art and Goliath & Goliath

Dates: 30 August, 20 September & 18 October (Con Cowan, Bunting Road Campus) & 10 November (Arts Centre Theatre / Kingsway Campus)

Tickets: General public – R50 / UJ Staff & Students – R20

About Womb of Fire

Written by: Rehane Abrahams

Directed by: Sara Matchett

Performed by: Rehane Abrahams

Dates: 27 September – 01 October

Venue: Con Cowan Theatre – Bunting Road Campus

Tickets: General public – R100 / Staff & Students – R20 / Group sales (10+) – R60

Womb of Fire seamlessly weaves together the story of three women – Draupadi (from the epic, The Mahabharata), Catrijn (the first recorded female convict slave banished to the Dutch-occupied Cape of Good Hope) and Zara (a Khoikhoi woman born in the Cape and employed as a servant from a young age). This emotive and passionate piece utilises the performing female body as an instrument of disruption where the body itself challenges the borders and boundaries of body politics.

Development run of African Gothic

Written by: Reza de Wet

Directed by: Alby Michaels

Performed by: including Liezl de Kock, Zak Hendrikz, Mpho Osei-Tutu and South African icon Thembi Mtshali-Jones

Dates: 11 October – 15 October

Venue: Con Cowan Theatre – Bunting Road Campus

Tickets: General public – R100 / Staff & Students – R20 / Group sales (10+) – R60

Set against the backdrop of a farm in a desolate ruin, the play tells the story of the complicated, passionate, and troubled relationship of Frikkie and Sussie. Their parents are long gone and God has forgotten them. While they live in the past with no discernable future, struggling with their own demons, they face eviction by an officious lawyer.

Dear Mr Government may I have a meeting with you even though I’m six years old?

Written by: Cherae’ Halley, Jessica Lejowa & Bongile Lecoge-Zulu

Directed by: Jessica Lejowa

Performed by: Cherae’ Halley & Bongile Lecoge-Zulu

Dates: 25 – 29 October

Venue: Con Cowan Theatre – Bunting Road Campus

Tickets: General public – R100 / Staff & Students – R20 / Group sales (10+) – R60

This is a tender retelling of what children are saying about their governments. They want to make decisions, they want to talk to Mr Government and they want Mr Government to listen to them. A cross-border collaboration built on the words of children in Lesotho and South Africa, the play invites audiences, from ten year olds to adults, to see with the eyes of children and hope with the hope of children.

About UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SAR Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education. Equipped with state-of-the art, custom-built facilities, the Faculty is staffed by highly regarded academics, architects, artists and designers.

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