The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Arts & Culture selected the occasion of leap day to announce the details of LIBERAT!ON MMXVI, a multi-faceted and multi-channeled programme of creative works for 2016.
29 February is a quirky day. Commonly known as “leap day” the tradition in some cultures has been for women to invert conventional gender roles on this day and to take the reins in proposing marriage. This inversion of convention and tradition is what UJ Arts & Culture has become known for.
“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” According to Ashraf Johaardien, Head of UJ Arts & Culture, the conversations that emerged from those questions inspired the theme which frames the programme. LIBERAT!ON comprises a bold and provocative line-up of productions, exhibitions and concerts. “Against the backdrop of the new wave of student activism across the country, these works do not seek to offer answers to those questions, per se, but rather, collectively they seek to provoke conversation and discussion around our pursuit of individual freedoms and the desire for collective emancipation,” Johaardien explains.
Highlights of LIBERAT!ON MMXVI include:
#CREATIVECONVERSATIONS A continuation of a series of free public engagements leading up to the 2016 ACT | UJ Arts & Culture Conference entitled #creativeintersections on 16 and 17 March 2016. A forum for developing and inspiring creative communities, the focus of the conference is to construct a new, creative road map where academic disciplines can physically and figuratively cross boundaries; highlighting “intersections” where new mediums, theories and connections can be identified and established. For more information please visit www.creativeconference.co.za.
“In support of the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future, the UJ art collection promotes the importance of visual art as a vehicle for reflecting social constructs and debates,” says Curator of the UJ Art Gallery, Annali Dempsey. “The collection and programme of exhibitions for 2016 aim to promote dialogue and debate on social and cultural matters, both historical and contemporary, and is reflective of the social, cultural and political diversity of Johannesburg and South Africa,” she adds.
The performing arts programme features a robust range of new and established talents in music, theatre and dance. “We reboot of our classical music programme with a series of classical concerts, which feature industry stalwarts such as Richard Cock, Nicholas Nicolaidis, Malcolm Nay and the Wits Trio, Lesley Stansell and the Umoya Wind Quintet, and Kabelo Mothlomi and the Resonance String Quartet,” announces Producer, Grace Meadows. “The season will culminate with the all-new Dean’s Gala Concert in November. In addition, the UJ Choir (Kingsway Campus) and Unijoh Choral (Soweto Campus) represent the exciting colours and sounds of the City of Gold: a fine Western repertoire combined with full-blooded African music.”
“Phillip Dikotla’s multi award-winning SKIERLIK kicks off a trilogy of plays in the Con Cowan Theatre. Dikola penned and performs this compelling work which deals with17-year-old Johan Nel’s shooting spree in the North-West informal settlement called Skierlik. Dannelene Noach’s novel, WOMAN ALONE is adapted and directed by Christo Davids and stars Lee-Ann van Rooi in the true story of a woman who was incarcerated in Saudi Arabia for 99 days. Emerging director Phala Ookeditse Phala tackles Athol Fugard’s iconic BOESMAN AND LENA with Makhaola Ndebele in the role of Boesman opposite Lalu Mokuku as Lena.
The Con trilogy is followed by a new dance work in the UJ Arts Centre entitled CHARLIE?, which has been created, performed and choreographed by rising dance superstar, Charlie van Rooyen. The performing arts line-up for the second semester is equally robust and includes a return season of “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” UJ and other works presented at the National Arts Festival, as well as the return of THATSOQUEER in digital format during Pride month. Wrapping up the year, Resident Director Alby Michaels tackles the South African première of the west-end runaway success hit, the details of which will be announced at a special event on Freedom Day.
Patrons are reminded that UJ Arts & Culture has revised security controls regarding parking and access to its venues in order to ensure the safety of patrons, staff, students and alumni. To ensure smooth access, tickets for all events taking place in the Arts Centre and Con Cowan Theatres should be pre-booked and presented to security at the boom when coming on to campus. Secure parking has been arranged in the parking lot opposite the main entrance on Kingsway for patrons or members of the media attending Opening Nights or free events. Guests will then be escorted on the short walk across the pedestrian bridge to the Arts Centre Theatre or the UJ Art Gallery.
The full programme for LIBERAT!ON MMXVI will be launched at the #creativeintersections Conference on 16 March and will be available for download at www.uj.ac.za/arts on the same date.