With everything from 17th century traditional plays to hip-hop productions on the menu, Artscape’s 2016 Audience Development and Education programme is set to bring together audiences from all walks of life.

‘Artscape has exciting productions and training programmes planned for 2016. These productions and training programmes have been achieved by forging partnerships with government, national and international stakeholders within the performing and visual arts industries. We have also initiated annual festivals such as the Heritage Festival which takes place during the month of September to celebrate our culturally rich heritage; the annual Women’s Humanity Arts Festival which celebrates humanity, women and the disabled as well as Youth Day programmes which celebrate and showcase the artistic talents of our country’s youth. The year 2016 heralds the 40th commemoration of June 16th.   The Women’s Humanity Arts Festival celebrates it’s milestone 10th anniversary in 2016 which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria’ explains newly appointed CEO Marlene Le Roux.

Although the programme will enjoy its official launch on Wednesday 10 February, the productions start on Wednesday 27 January with a musical version of Simon Bruinders’ novel Die Sideboard.

Artscape will pay tribute to one of the world’s greatest playwrights in celebration of the 400th anniversary of his death when they present Shakespeare’s Othello at the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre from Saturday 30 January.

The 2016 Audience Development and Education will take audiences on a journey of discovery, highlighting humanity’s similarities and differences while cementing a love of theatre and fostering a new generation of theatre-goers.

Western Cape Schools Festival of Arts and Creativity in March is just one of the events aimed at scholars and seeks to expose young learners to professional theatre. In partnership with the Cape Town international Jazz Festival, young musicians as well as those interested in “behind-the-scenes” work will get a chance to showcase their talents later in the month. Young actors will be given an opportunity do the same during the finals of the National Acting Competition in May.

School learners will also pay tribute to Shakespeare during the Shakespeare Schools Festival where children are encouraged to present an abridged version of their favourite work.

The Annual Nasheed High School Competition in April turns the spotlight on Islam, particularly the Nasheed style of a capella singing.

Western Cape learners will get a chance to see their setwork books brought to life with productions like Fiela se Kind, Krismis van Map Jacobs and Amaza on stage in April and May.

The 2016 Audience Development and Education productions also celebrate local playwrights like John Kani who’s Nothing but the Truth and Missing will be staged from 5 to 15 May.

Hip-hop will get it’s day in June when the popular dance production Cape Town’s Most Wanted returns to the Artscape Theatre, just before HemelBesem and Dutch artist Akwasi explore South Africa and the Netherland’s shared history and language through the medium of hip-hop.

The Artscape Heritage Festival explores South Africa’s vibrant history further in September, while a series of workshops, programmes and forums run throughout the year will help young creatives write the next chapter.

These and the rest of the programme will be highlighted at Artscape’s 2016 Audience Development and Education programme launch on Wednesday 10 February from 17:30. The evening will include a preview of the year’s programme with performances by Dizu Plaatjies, the Cape Town Opera Ensemble, Cape Town City Ballet (TBC), the Youth Orchestra, Jazzart, the Unmute Dance Company and the Chris Hani Choir.

For more information about Artscape and their 2016 program, visit www.artscape.co.za.

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