CityLife Arts

Women leaders taking Market Theatre to the future

CITYLIFE/ARTS Women’s Month Special Features

By Edward Tsumele

With the recent announcement that the Market Theatre Foundation has appointed its second woman chief executive officer in Tshiamo Mokgadi, in effect the Newtown based iconic institution is cementing its leading position in transformation, particularly when it comes to gender representation.

Long hailed for its progressive ideas due to the historic role the Market Theatre played in the fight for freedom during apartheid using the medium of theatre, the institution continues to lead in the cultural sector in the country when it comes to women holding leadership positions.

Women’s Day falls on August 9, a national holiday, and is in recognition of the role the women of this country played in 1956, when women leaders emerged from communities and swarmed the seat of power in Pretoria in protest against the oppressive Pass Laws of the time, the government has rightly declared this day a national holiday.

In a free South Africa, inroads in recognising the potential of leadership among women in general have been made ever since the country attained freedom 26 years ago. However gender parity, especially in the corporate sector remains a sticking issue with women continuing to be disproportionately under represented in leadership positions.

CiTYLIFE/ARTS editor EDWARD TSUMELE in this special series marking August Women’s Month, will interview women leaders at the Market Theatre Foundation in Newtown, who hold senior positions. These are the women leaders making sure that the cultural heartbeat of Newtown continues to be felt and heard far and wide, even during this difficult time in decades due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

This series of interviews will be published in the following two weeks, starting on Monday, August 3, with an interview with the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Market Theatre Foundation, Tshiamo Mokgadi.

The majority of the senior positions at the Market Theatre Foundation are held by women from executive level to senior staff level, making the institution most probably the most transformed in the country in the cultural sector when it comes to recognition of women in the arts. Out of the .11.managers at the Market Theatre Foundation eight managers are women, while three managerial positions are occupied by men.

In this series of interviews, these women leaders speak about their roles at this multi-award winning institution that continues to play important intellectual and cultural roles in a free society by putting up shows that talk to the relevant issues of the day as well as playing a role in imagining a new society free from the burdens of the past.

These women leadership corps consists of :Mokgadi, Chief Executive Officer, Christine Smith Mcdonald, Chief Financial Officer, Zodwa Shongwe, Producer, Keitu Gwangwa Head of Windybrow Centre of the Arts, Clara Vaughan, Head of Market Theatre Laboratory, Penny Morris (stakeholder relations manager, Zama Buthelezi Brand Communications Manager, Busisiwe Sithole Administrations and Operations Manager at the Market Photo Workshop, Perpetua Mathsa Human Resource Manager, Thuli Hlaneke Facilities Manager and Khona Dlanini Programmes Manager at the Market Photo Workshop.

CityLife Arts will be publishing individual interviews with these women leaders for the next two weeks in honour of Women’s Month, starting this coming Monday, August 3, with an Up Close and Personal interview with the newly appointed Chief Executive officer of the Market Theatre Foundation, Tshiamo Mokgadi.

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