Afrovibes UK swings into Nottingham this week, with an array of live theatre, music, dance and visual arts from South Africa.
The biennial festival, which made its debut in 2010, will be in the city from October 26th to the 31st and will be performing four outstanding shows at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, Nottingham Playhouse, New Art Exchange and the Theatre Royal.
Stylish vocal trio ‘The Soil’ who recently performed their unique blend of acapella Afro pop and township jazz at Glasgow 2012 Commonwealth Games will be showcasing their outstanding talent at Nottingham Lakeside Arts. No instruments, no music lessons – just their own voices and local inspiration. The music is underpinned by great rhythmic vocal beat-boxing while the other two voices provide the ever-changing top lines.
Biko’s Quest, a big dance production about the life and death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko will take its audience on a poignant and emotional journey through danced storytelling; Rainbow Scars, an electric piece of theatre confronting issues of race and identity by Mike van Graan, one of SA’s most incisive playwrights; and Skierlik, a dramatic solo drama written and performed by award-winning playwright/actor Phillip M Dikotla.
Nottingham Lakeside Arts will also be hosting a pop-up Township Cafe decorated by a local community group from the Renewal Trust in St Anns, and featuring fantastic South African inspired food. In 2011, Lakeside’s chef Steve Elliott won the artists’ award for the best Bunny Chow (hollowed out bread loaf filled with chicken or vegetable curry) on tour, and he’s gearing up for another tour-de-force menu in 2014.
Director Shona Powell says: “Nottingham Lakeside Arts are proud to be a partner in the 2014 event. It’s a great collaboration involving four of the cities key arts venues – New Art Exchange, Theatre Royal and Royal Centre, Nottingham Playhouse and ourselves along with City Arts, Renewal Trust, and community choirs drawn from across the city. We all look forward to the arrival of our guest artists from South Africa and to warmly welcoming them to our city.”
This year, Afrovibes marks 20 years of the new South Africa: 20 years since the ending of apartheid and the beginning of democracy. This year’s 17-venue, four week UK tour is bigger and better than ever featuring nearly 60 performers from all over South Africa in an eclectic programme that is designed to appeal to wide audiences across the UK. Celebrating 20 years of democracy in South Africa, Afrovibes UKis part of the official SA-UK Season 2014-15, a collaboration that will see the UK and South Africa engage for the next two years in creative programmes.
Artistic Director James Ngcobo, who is also Artistic Director of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg says: “In 1994 a new nation was born. Since then our artists have been showing the world that South Africa has stories to tell: stories that speak to the collective memory of who we are. Yet at the same time they speak of life in South Africa today – stories that link us with the world.”
To find out more about the festival or to book your tickets visit www.lakesidearts.org.uk or call 0115 846 7777.
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