Robust research spearheads music Industry reform

by Rahiem Whisgary –

If we are to believe Mozart that ‘music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them’, then we, as appreciators of music, surely hanker to experience those sublime silences in live performance. Yet few of us are aware of the hardships – decrepit accommodation and lack of food, to name a couple – that touring musicians endure. While we bask in the visceral and transcendental power of live music, findings in Song Lines: Mapping the South African Live Performance Landscape – a research report implemented by Concerts SA – provides the reason to strive for the betterment of music industry structures: live touring in South Africa has been and continues to be so important for musicians’ income streams that they are prepared to tolerate poor conditions to retain this type of work.

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The report, compiled and written by Gwen Ansell and Professor Helena Barnard, illustrates that over a period of 40 years, in spite of new technologies and the abolition of apartheid, not much has changed within music industry structures: the vast majority of performance venues do not have available rehearsal space, few venues offer musicians a guaranteed fee for shows, most clubs and venues have no form of funding or sponsorship to help with staging live music and, alarmingly, areas such as Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape, the Free State and the North West host less than 5% of the country’s festivals. read more…

Ismail Mahomed talks 40th National Arts Festival

by Ismail Mahomed –

Forty years is a milestone for any arts festival. This year the National Arts Festival celebrates the fortieth year since its founding in 1974. Until 2003, I spent twenty of those years trekking to Grahamstown as a freelance producer on the Fringe. In 2008, I found the mad courage to take up the position of Artistic Director of the National Arts Festival.

Reflecting on those early years as a Fringe producer, I guess there was much similarity between me and an alcoholic. For some reason, I trekked to one festival after the next in very much the same way as an alcoholic who was reaching out for his next bottle. Anyone who has produced work on the fringe will acknowledge that there is nothing that quenches the thirst for creativity more than drinking from the bottle of euphoria that one finds at festivals. read more…

Open letter to funding organisations

by Amy Gould –

This open letter appeared in ImagineMag!, an online arts magazine of which the establishment was supported by the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT). We thought Amy’s open letter to funding organisations in the magazine raises interesting points and we thought our readers might share her view and want to contribute to the conversation; please do so in the comments section below. Click here for the most recent edition of ImagineMag!

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An open letter to all funding organisations – be they Governmental, Business or private individuals as well as Non Profit Companies.

I speak in my capacity as a Director of a NPC that is both a training and performing dance company and having dealt with both Government and Private Agencies re funding and policy.

Government Funding as well as Corporate and Business funding appears to be based on their policy requirements – understandable. read more…

Cultivating audiences for the future

by Pieter Jacobs, ACT CEO –

When it comes to the implementation of audience development it is all too easy to resort to bussing in underprivileged children from who knows where. Unless this is part of a holistic programme which also addresses other crucial factors, such as motivation and opportunity to attend or participate, one can’t but wonder whether it isn’t simply an attempt to fulfill a short-term need to get bums on seats. Providing access (ability) to attend is only one part of audience development.

It becomes a concern when at the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) we receive countless applications from arts organisations interested in growing their audiences (market) by doing just that. Most often by targeting the youth in locations that doesn’t make sense at all. ACT is passionate about this area of development but also realises that there aren’t enough funds to shoot and miss. read more…

BASA reveals biannual Artstrack findings

Business and Arts South Africa’s has revealed a double digit growth in arts sponsorship, in spite of the tight economic conditions faced by companies over the past two years.

Specifically, the research predicts that an estimated R438 million was spent on arts sponsorships in 2013 – an 11 percent growth on the R394 million spent in 2011, as measured by BMI Research. read more…

Copyright – What it means for Visual Artists

by Andr&#233 Myburgh –

Copyright is pictured, with some justification, as a complex area of law best left to experts. Yet, copyright in an artistic work is potentially a valuable source of income for the artist who created it, and it is therefore important for artists who make a living from their works to have a basic understanding of copyright. Financial benefits from the copyright in a work can endure long after the original work has been sold, since the copyright in an artistic work normally does not pass to the buyer with its sale. This article aims to set out how visual artists can use copyright to be remunerated from licensed use of their works, over and above the income generated by sales.

The term “artistic works” in the South African Copyright Act, No 98 of 1979, includes “paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings” and other works of craftsmanship. It also includes “works of architecture” and photographs, which are not dealt with specifically in this article, since they enter the commercial markets differently from the other fine arts, and slightly different rules apply to them. Each one of them justifies its own article. read more…

Bringing text to life

by Kate Ferreira –

Drama and English scholars in KwaZulu-Natal can look forward to seeing their reading come to life in Prompt Side Productions’ stage production of ‘Boesman and Lena’ at the Hexagon Theatre, UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus. The play opened last night and will run until 31 May 2014.

The play – a classic from celebrated playwright Athol Fugard – is produced by Prompt Side Productions founder Stallone Santino, with assistance from the Arts & Culture Trust and the Nedbank Arts Affinity clients, and directed by Brenda-Lee Cele. It stars Sade Wagner (Lena), Tshepang Koloko (Boesman) and Musa Nkomo (Outa). read more…

Neil Coppen on his Animal Farm choices …

by Neil Coppen –

I’m a huge fan of the masters of political satire, particularly Jonathan Swift and George Orwell. I’ve toyed for some time with the idea of South African theatrical adaptations of both ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and ‘Animal Farm’. The commentary these books make are timeless and hugely pertinent to a South African context in the way they reflect on the human condition, power, class and the everyman trying to make sense of the whole darn mess.

It’s the sort of universality and relevance that I strive for in my own work. So with ‘Animal Farm’ I feel very close to the material and can identify instantly its resonance here in South Africa. read more…

Changing the learning eXperience for everyone

by Lebogang Mdlankomo –

“Excite, Explore, Exchange and Examine,” that is what Nobulali ‘Lali’ Dangazele of Nobulali Productions would like teachers and learners to do when taking part in programmes they facilitate in schools across the country.

The company, supported in their latest endeavours by the Arts & Culture Trust, has developed the teaching and learning method of ShakeXperience by making the curriculum setwork come to life right before the learner’s eyes. read more…

A vision living up to its name

by Lebogang Mdlankomo –

With just her drive and nothing else Andrea Lois Nel started the Rising Star Academy in North West province in 2013 and hasn’t looked back.”Materially I had nothing. I had gone through a personal upheaval and I had nothing to lose. I started with three students and some homemade pamphlets which I copied and handed out to people,” says Andrea.

She says that while growing up, her parent’s involvement in a local theatre group inspired her passion. “It was always an interest which never waned,” she explains, and owes her success to constantly trying, persevering and believing in herself.  read more…

Words of encouragement for Scholarships participants

by Altovise Lawrence, Scholarships MC 2013 –

The transition from High School to a tertiary institution is much like preparing for a performance. There are endless rehearsals where time is spent preparing for an opening that will be nothing short of ‘Perfect!’.

But then you fumble. You forget your line. You miss a step.

read more…

Hail the author: Intellectual property and performance rights

by Andrê Cloete from DALRO | Supervisor: Theatrical Rights –

As creatives and performing artists embark on journeys of exhibiting their talent and producing a stage work, they often do so with the common yet basic fear that so many in their field share: that of it being a success, and so much so that it enables them to put food on the table and keep the bills at bay for a little longer. It’s the curse that so many share in today’s volatile environment. If you’re a performer or creative yourself, I’m sure you’re nodding your head as you read this.

However; I’d like to pose a related question to you. With contracts signed and wages coming in, how many of us ever stop and wonder if the author is getting his/her share? read more…

And music for all

by Hlabangani Mtshali –

Although orchestral music has a sizable audience in South Africa, it is still not as popular outside the circles of its aficionados. One orchestra, however, is looking to change that by bringing world-class orchestral performance to the people.

Later this month, The Bloemfontein City Orchestra, with support from the Nedbank Arts Affinity and the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT), will be performing world renowned composer Karl Jenkins’ moving composition, The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace at the Sand Du Plessis Theatre in Bloemfontein. read more…

PR dreams and media nightmares

by The Famous Idea Trading Co –

It is important to engage with people online, as that’s where so much information is gathered these days and where most people look for events to attend. 71% of South African internet users are going online via their cellphones and most say they use the internet to surf for information and to connect with people via social networks. It’s a big market, and a relatively cheap one to access BUT it isn’t the only one. If you want more than your followers and friends (and maybe their friends) to come to your event, you need to share the details via wider platforms, and here traditional media like newspapers and magazines are a great publicity resource for artists.

Basically, there are three different kinds of ways a journalist/media outlet will mention your project – either as a listing (ie What’s On); an interview/story about the event or people involved ahead of the time; or a review after.  read more…

Publicity pitfalls to dodge

by The Famous Idea Trading Co –

Too often we see artists consumed by the detail of putting final touches to manuscripts or scores, in the throes of rehearsals or perfecting their sets, but neglecting the most important variable – marketing yourself to a potential audience. Like those familiar hypothetical trees falling in the forest, does our art have an impact if no one is around to witness it?

This reality of the *business* of arts at least gives us a clear priority: A potential audience member needs to know – first and foremost – that your production/event/exhibition is taking place, otherwise you have no chance of getting them there! read more…

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