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  • Thuthukani "TK" Ndlovu

The STAND Foundation

// STAND Foundation - Invitation to help sustain the theatre & dance ecosystem //


Greetings fam, and compliments of the new season. I'm glad that we've managed to make it into 2021, and I hope that this year will be better than the previous year. To kick-start this new season, our first article will be about the Sustaining Theater And Dance (STAND) Foundation.


STAND is an independent, non-profit and public benefit entity created by individuals within the sector to nurture, promote and celebrate contemporary South African dance and theatre. I'm sure that we're all aware - to a certain extent - of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had not only on the economy, but also on the creative community in South Africa and the rest of the world. The lock-down regulations emphasized the marginalization of the arts, especially theatre and dance in particular. This is why initiatives such as STAND are a necessity. It's purpose is to sustain and grow contemporary dance and theatre while advocating for more effective public funding of the sector. While there is a great need for relief funding during this period that has severely limited income streams, STAND aims to provide opportunities for those who make their livelihoods within the dance and theatre sector to continue to practice their craft and earn income.



You might be wondering, who exactly will be served by STAND? Well, the whole value chain within the dance and theatre ecosystems will be served (education, creation, production, distribution, consumption, archiving). This includes creative practitioners (actors, dancers, directors, writers, choreographers, designers, etc), administrators, educators, technical crew, publicists, archivists, researchers and the like.


STAND has already recruited patrons such as Alan Committie, Daniel Galloway, Hennie van Greunen and Pedro Kruger, Thembi Mtshali Jones, Annabell Lebethe, Willie Reetsang, Karen Meiring and Simon Cooper, who along with a number of our committee members have pledged R10 000 each. They have raised funds from Business and Arts South Africa and the Netherlands Embassy, and initiated a number of projects since their launch on 1 September 2020. Four young choreographers have been paid to produce new work under the guidance of experienced mentors. Seven young women stand-up comics have received stipends to produce new sets that will enable them to earn income. A discussion document outlining a new vision for dance and theatre is doing the rounds as a basis for advocacy. Weekly sessions on financial wellness for artists have been held in partnership with the Association for Investment and Savings South Africa. Five young writers have been financially rewarded for their submissions in a competition to promote satirical theatre. These projects speak to their vision to provide income for dance and theatre practitioners and so affirm their dignity. They have ambitious and exciting plans for 2021 that aim to up-skill the sector, provide platforms for innovation, support the vulnerable and change policies to ensure sustainable and decent work and decent remuneration. To do this, requires partnerships throughout the whole ecosystem, including audiences.


With all this being said, I would like to extend the invitation to you to become a supporter of South African theatre and dance. Their long-term ambition is to develop a database of people who believe in the importance of the arts as integral to our quality of life, to freedom of creative expression and democracy, to holistic education, to catalysing people-to-people dialogue and understanding, and who will subscribe to the STAND Foundation for at least R100 per month (R1200 per year). In addition to supporting projects that sustain and build the sector, subscribers will receive a range of exclusive online and physical benefits such as invitations to readings of new plays, interviews with top directors and choreographers, opportunities to observe rehearsals, free or reduced-fee access to STAND projects, and the like.


As a supporter of contemporary South African theatre and dance, you can become a STAND Foundation subscriber, and so support contemporary dance and theatre and those who seek to make their livelihoods within this sector. Donations from as little as R50 are welcome, and subscribers may pay a yearly subscription at once, or in installments as they choose. STAND aims to recruit at least 10 000 subscribers by the end of 2021, and I definitely plan on being one of them. It would be highly appreciated if you also share this information with as many people as possible.


To make a contribution, visit their website and click on the donate button:

https://www.standfoundation.org.za/


The STAND Committee members are Gregory Maqoma (internationally-acclaimed choreographer, and artistic director of Vuyani Dance Theatre), Yvette Hardie (international President of ASSITEJ, the association of theatre and performing arts for children and young people), Ismail Mahomed (Director of the Centre for Creative Arts and former Artistic Director of the National Arts Festival), Saartjie Botha (Director of the Woordfees), Musa Hlatshwayo (choreographer and dance educator), Sbonakaliso Ndaba (Artistic Director of the Indoni Arts and Leadership Academy), Debbie Turner (CEO of Cape Town City Ballet), Ricardo Peach (Director of the Vrystaat Arts Festival), Unathi Malunga (Entertainment lawyer and creative industries consultant) and Mike van Graan. Make sure you follow STAND on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to keep abreast of their activities and announcements. You can also find more information on their website: https://www.standfoundation.org.za/ or send Mike an emal on mike@standfoundation.org.za .


- Article by @2tukani


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