Despite that there is joy!
In this community theatre project, supported by the National Arts Council, UKZN Department of Performing Arts and Bechet High, we did the following:
1. Rehearsed and performed in Durban with local and national teenagers and youth from Durban and the Cape Flats an original community theatre musical that addresses social ills voiced by a community on gender based violence, crime and gangsterism but that still emphasises that there is joy in our communities. We built on the community theatre musical skeleton and songs and scenes created in the creative outputs of two ARROWSA co-creative multi-disciplinary national and international projects in 2022 namely Arts for mental calmness (supported by NAC) and Despite That (supported by BC).
2. We shared our experience and expertise in the rehearsing and performance of community theatre musical by filming and disseminating a recording of the process of the original community theatre musical on the African continent and internationally e.g. to Indra UK (including Plymouth, Manchester, Scotland and N. Ireland groups), Palestine and India.
3. We continued to provide employment, transfer arts skills and show-case the creativity of 43 South African youth particularly from ARROWSA alumni who are in Durban and in the Cape Flats in the community theatre musical.
4. We provided a space and platform for community pride and upliftment in Durban within a community where there is a high incidences of crime where teenagers can gain arts skills and be part of a community musical theatre production within a theatre space.
5. We exposed local and national youth artists with arts expertise from professionals in SA from Durban and Cape Town. We included artists from South Roots Int. Cape Flats and UKZN Dept of Drama and performing arts, in the creation of a new song, refining of previously created songs and face-to-face rehearsals and community theatre production.
6. We included indigenous art forms of song and dance.
7. We reinforced the skills of SASL (South African Sign Language) and sensitised audiences to the challenges of the hearing impaired by including the outputs in a music video of experts and youth signing extracts of a song Despite that.
8. We strengthened collaboration with other arts individuals, organisations and institutions locally and nationally by employing artists from Durban and Cape Flats and encouraging co-creation. We also reinforced collaboration with UK organisation that works with minority people of colour by showcasing our collaborative music video Despite That.. at the end of the musical performance.
9. We showcased how the arts may be used to address social ills and promote social change through an original community theatre musical of fine artistic standards.
10. We provided refreshments and lunches to the youth who participated in the community musical production as especially the teenagers come from homes that are impacted by economic and social challenges.