Monday 30 November 2015

1 National Arts Council funding for airflights

The National Arts Council funding of air tickets for the ARROWSA Indaba Congress Plymouth 2015 facilitated the training and sharing of knowledge and skills specifically regarding Applied/Community Theatre for ARROWSA facilitators, co-ordinators, facilitators and participants as well as UKZN drama staff and students who physically went to the United Kingdom and those who remained in Durban.


Part 1

The ARROWSA Indaba Congress Plymouth 2015 is a project that connects South African, Durban youth, academics and practitioners via Indra Congress Plymouth Applied Theatre practices with youth, academics and practitioners globally.  The project included a conference, workshops, performances, presentations and discussions and was spread over July, September and October 2015. The National Arts Council funded air flights provided for the effective participation in the project in July 2015 of ARROWSA chair and practitioner, Mary Lange; In September 2015 ARROWSA management and UKZN lecturer, Luthando Ngema; ARROWSA Bechet co-ordinator and educator, Bhekithemba Dlamini; ARROWSA Bechet participant and UKZN student, Darnelle Fortune; ARROWSA Bechet participant and UKZN student; In October 2015 Indra Congress facilitator and freelance actress and Applied Theatre specialist, Alix Harris. These flights from Durban, South Africa to Plymouth, United Kingdom and vice versa as well as from United Kingdom to Northern and the Republic of Ireland provided the opportunity for the aforementioned participants to not only share their Applied Theatre and performance skills with the youth, practitioners, educators and communities in these countries but also for effective intercultural exchange and the development and acquisition of performance and directing and skills. The airfare funding further allowed for attendance of symposiums and conferences post Indra Congress where effective discussions were held with Community Theatre practitioners and academics towards future collaboration with ARROWSA that would focus on the exchange of skills and the empowerment of South African performers and artists. Performance skills were further shared with disadvantaged learners and youth in both countries as a pay-it-forward. This pay-it-forward will continue into 2016.

1.     Background

The National Arts Council granted funding to ARROWSA (Art a Resource for Reconciliation Over the World) (Reg 088-058 NPO) a Durban youth based non-profit organisation to partake in the Indra Congress (International Development of reconciliation through the arts).

1.1 The Indra Congress

The Indra Congress aspires to provide an ongoing cycle of Indra Congress events, bringing young people, artists, educators and others together from all over the world to present and share their stories and the creative and committed work they do in their own communities. To provide a package of courses and training programmes for working creatively with conflict in diverse contexts and to work with partners in Higher Education and elsewhere to build up a body of evidence for the efficacy of this work. There are Indra hubs throughout the world but this project focused specifically on the Plymouth hub and Indabas [discussions/conference] that occurred in or linked to the Plymouth Indra, 2016.


ARROWSA, through one of their projects at Bechet High School (Sydenham, Durban), works to contribute arts and culture education by providing weekly sessions at the school (See Appendix 1). The weekly sessions function as an extra-mural activity for the participants more especially because the school does not provide drama studies as a matric subject. The sessions focus not only imparting theatre skills but also through Applied Theatre serves  through drama and theatre methods as a means of social change both for individuals and the community ( The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), through the Centre of Culture, Communication, Media and Society (CCMS), has also been in close affiliation with ARROWSA through the documenting and recording of ARROWSA activities through research. A number of ARROWSA management are also staff or affiliated to Durban University of Technology Department of Fine Arts and UKZN Drama and Performance e.g. Dr Miranda Young-Jahangeer who was also involved in this project.

ARROWSA Bechet Group at rehearsals for devised production ‘Messy’ June 2015

 1.3 Context of Plymouth Congress 2015
(From Indra Congress Newsletter 13 - July 2015 written by Director D. Oddie)

“Following the Indra Congress in Derry 2013, Marina Barham, Director of Al Harah Theatre in Beit Jala, Palestine invited us to hold the next 2015 Global Congress in Bethlehem.  The slaughter inflicted on Gaza a year ago had a profound impact on people throughout Palestine.  Once again Gaza was in ruins and its families and communities living in fear and despair. The tremors reverberated across the region. Marina advised us not to come to Bethlehem and that her capacity to raise resources to host the event was severely impaired. We postponed for a year.
In the meantime we suggested holding an interim Congress in Plymouth.  This would enable us to maintain momentum with Indra and not lose the enthusiasm and creative energy generated during the Derry Congress, in 2015.  Exchange projects between India and South Africa[1] and other bi-lateral activities had kept this momentum going.  The situation also presented us with an opportunity.
Over the years we have developed a pattern for the Indra programme: Young people carry out creative projects in their own communities, which they share through social media.  They then may take part in bi-lateral projects and training programmes with other partners.  Every couple of years we meet up for a ‘live’ Congress event in which young people can share their experience, practice and ideas and learn from each other.  We hold a parallel symposium for practitioners and academics to reflect on the work within Indra’s net. The current situation had raised a challenge: how do we engage with colleagues who are unable to attend in person?  For example, young people in Palestine were isolated through war; young people in Sierra Leone were isolated through Ebola. How could we facilitate their participation?
We decided to design a Congress that would use digital technology to bring absent participants into the ‘live’ space.” 

Indra Congress participants Plymouth July 2015

[1] The air tickets for this project in 2014 were funded by NAC

No comments:

Post a Comment