Returning to the community at heart of this year’s My Body My Space public Arts festival  

The festival takes place from March 22 – 25, in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga

By CityLife Arts Writer

A festival with a big heart and open arms, My Body My Space (MBMS) 2023, returns the arts and artists to the Emakhazeni community over four days of interactive, site-specific performances in and around The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative’s Ebhudlweni Arts Centre. Sibuyel’ emphakatini, funded by the National Arts Council, focusses on artistic works curated around human rights issues.

Founded on the principles of creating socially and environmentally conscious work, MBMS 2023, curated by The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC), is comprised of a selection of commissioned performances, workshops and training programmes. The festival is strongly committed to stimulating the local Emakhazeni economy, growing job creation opportunities and developing a vibrant arts and culture tourism sector in the region.

The Arteries Programme is the Fringe programme that is shaped by community activations and performances and features performances and workshops aimed specifically at children, youth and people with disabilities. Drama For Life (DFL) is a core partner in this endeavour which offers and creates opportunities for the basic human rights to ACCESS and INCLUSION through the vehicle of the arts. The Arteries programme runs from March 22-24 across various sites.

This year, Sibuyel’ emphakatini (we are back in the community), plays host to a selection of commissioned site-specific performances called The Central Nervous System Programme (CNS). Friday March 24 will showcase works at the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre by luminaries from our SA contemporary dance heritage: Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe, Nicholas Aphane, Lulu Mlangeni and Oupa Sibeko as well as the unveiling of Frederic Dussoulier (Reunion) & Jabu Makuwa’s “Big Foot”.

On Saturday March 25, audience members will be guided on foot through the streets of Machadodorp to see diverse performances from both established and community-based artists. The programme leads the audience to and from various sites including a car park, a taxi rank, under trees, a field, courtyards and driveways and even traffic intersections with dance makers and performers Smangaliso Ngwenya, Lucia Walker, Thuli Binda, Kasi Shack Theatre, Ashley Jordan (UK and part of the British Council funded How to Eat a Doughnut), Drama For Life, Thapelo Kotolo and Mcebesi Bhayi (Sibikwa), Vuyani Dance Theatre, Moving into Dance, FATC interns and local cultural dance groups.

Look out for the marching brass band which closes this extraordinary festival of coming together in ordinary places and spaces and filling them with innovative ideas and dancing bodies.

With funding garnered from the National Arts Council, Business and Arts South Africa, and the British Council amongst others, The 2023 My Body My Space Public Arts Festival, Sibuyel’ emphakatini, has enabled free access to performances.

MBMS 2023, Sibuyel’ emphakatini,wishes to thank and acknowledge its funders and partners:

National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC); British Council South  Africa; The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative; Oppenheimer Memorial Trust; Emakhazeni Local Municipality – ELM; Business and Arts South Africa; DAC Réunion – Direction des Affaires Culturelles, Région Réunion; L’Envol (Reunion); Klimaatkantoor; University of Johannesburg Arts & Culture; Drama For Life; Creative Feel; Zebra 360 Online Marketing; The BUZ Factor; Deveron Projects; Chazon Tekna School: 201-468 NPO; The Grey’s Inn, Machadodorp; Absolute Leisure Cottages, Machadodorp; Cultural Meander; Nkangala Tourism; KASI RC Shack Art School & Theatre; Moving Into Dance; Sibikwa Arts Centre; Vuyani Dance Company; Cie Vincent Mantsoe; Lulu Mlangeni; Body Ability; Gifted Angels Arts Foundation; movement_story_technology.

“LOVE SONG” is FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY’s first performance offering of 2023 in which they partner with the KZNSA Gallery to offer – for two performances only – a site responsive and intimate dance experience that is sure to ignite passion and beauty. Performances take place on Friday 31 March and Saturday 1 April at 6.30pm.

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