Executive Director and Producer of the South African Theatre Village (SATV), Mariska Denysschen, who was awarded the Most Promising Director at the 2015 National Arts Festival (NAF) is back with a packed line up of riveting theatre shows which are all on the way to the 2018 NAF.
According to Denysschen, the “South African Theatre Village is a theatre production company whose mission and vision includes housing emerging artists and sourcing out platforms for emerging writers and directors to showcase work… We collaborate as a team to make it easier for emerging theatre writers and directors to take work to the National Arts Festival.” I can easily see how this vision is being accomplished with the current year seeing SATV take 6 self-funded shows to NAF. Coming from a background where institutions collaborate with the festival to take a single show down to Grahamstown, one can only imagine the mammoth financial effort it takes to get six shows to travel down. On her reasons for starting down this seemingly difficult path, Denysschen asserted that:
There is a great need for emerging theatre writers and directors to be assisted with resources to get their work out there. You do not become a paid writer/ director by profession by just graduating and waiting for a job. We prioritize creating our own work and helping each other get new work out there in order to build experience, to generate exposure and to have structures of references for future endorsements. As professional artists we need to be known, seen and tested in order to be trusted with endorsements for commercial work of artistic value, and the National Arts Festival is the simplest platform to have access to, that will allow us to be known, seen, reviewed and tested.
Denysschen started SATV with a team of talented artists, including Thapelo Sebogodi, Calvin Ratladi, Sthandile Nkosi, Adrian Steyn, Emil Lars, Mphoentle Ngoepe, Jade Traci, Renette Denysschen, Mimi Mamabolo, Charmaine Ramathlape, Jean-Pierre Besselaar and Carla Belmonte. The journey upon which this dynamic collective has embarked is one rarely traversed by such large groups, mainly due to financial reasons. However, the clarity of vision as is seen within this organization ensures that each creative finds a home to practice their craft despite the limitations. In a country where the youth feel disillusioned by the promises made in the past, Denysschen and her crew of vibrant theatre revolutionaries are making a solid impact in the lives of many artists and audiences in the capital city and beyond.
The line-up of shows coming up at the National Arts Festival from the 2nd to the 8th of July includes:
Human Pieces II written and directed by Mariska Denysschen (Silver-Ovation Award Winner)
Lift Club written by Renette Denysschen, directed by Mariska Denysschen
Mensstukke written and directed by Mariska Denysschen
Ninah written and directed by Sthandile Nkosi
Rhoda Miller written and directed by Calvin Ratladi
The Train written by Adrian Steyn, directed by Calvin Ratladi.
As if this wasn’t already enough, Denysschen is also involved in the show Dress to Kill created & performed by Mariska Denysschen and Thapelo Sebogodi. This production will feature as part of the Youth Expressions Festival at the State Theatre in Tshwane from 4-6 June. As part of the build up to NAF, there will be special runs of the following shows at the POP Art:
Mensstukke – 11 June 8pm – Written and directed by Mariska Denysschen; starring Carla Belmonte and Jean-Pierre Besselaar.
Rhoda Miller – 12 June 8pm – Written and directed by Calvin Ratladi; starring Mariska Denysschen and Thapelo Sebogodi
The Train – 18 June 8pm – Directed by Calvin Ratladi, written by & starring Adrian Steyn, co-starring Thapelo Sebogodi and Emil Lars.
Lift Club – 19 June 8pm – by Renette Denysschen, Directed by Mariska Denysschen; starring Emil Lars, Jade Meyers, Carla Belmonte and Sthandile Nkosi.
Katlego Chale ©