Encountering the Other

The Market Theatre Laboratory, Johannesburg, is excited to announce an international theatre collaboration, Encountering the Other, with ODDMANOUT theatre company, in Darlington, UK. Twelve young people, six from South Africa and six from North East England, will come together to create a production exploring the realities and possibilities of young woman in the current moment in a global context. Supported by British Council Connect ZA, Encountering the Other is a creative partnership involving both live and digital performance, a coming together of people from different countries who can learn from each other both socially and artistically.

This project comes from a strong sense of the shared values of the two organisations: The Market Theatre Laboratory is a creative hub supporting the development and emergence of talented young theatre-makers and contemporary, socially engaged, experimental performing arts.  ODDMANOUT was established by North East England theatre-makers, Scott Young and Katy Weir to create work with a strong focus on stories of social change and theatre with story-telling at its heart.

“Both countries also share some characteristics which will be explored in the production: a state of political tension, with young people increasingly passionate about speaking out and promoting change within our countries’, said Clara Vaughan, Head of the Market Theatre Laboratory.

“Many young women in particular are taking leadership positions, and are vocal about their demands for change. The intention of this project is to explore what women are experiencing now, and what role they will play in shaping the future.  We expect that the process will allow an exchange of issues, potential solutions, creative processes and performance techniques so that everyone who participates will have a broader and deeper understanding of themes relating to being a young woman living in these times, as well as more artistic skill, approaches and tools. We will have created an original, inter-disciplinary performance piece, which in turn will raise awareness, and provoke questions and conversation within the audience, who will mainly be young people”, she added.

In September, both creative teams are rehearsing in parallel processes, sharing material digitally. In October, the UK team will arrive in Johannesburg to start an intensive rehearsal period, creating a unified production with all twelve performers.

The South African team will fly to the UK in November, to host a series of exciting workshops on South African theatre-making techniques with budding actors from the North East of England. This will be followed by a one-off performance of Encountering the Other at the newly restored Darlington Hippodrome on Monday 27th November at 7.30pm.

Commenting on this project, Katy Weir, who has previously travelled to South Africa, with the Swallows Foundation UK said: ‘We’re very excited about the collaboration and the global profile of this project. We aim to achieve a mixed gender, class, and race participation, providing a more inclusive outcome in a way that transcends more than just cultural divides, but also divides of gender, class and sexuality.”

Clara Vaughan, who is also a director on the project, said, “We are very excited to be able to offer our students this unique cultural exchange experience, which is a huge opportunity for personal and artistic growth. I have no doubt that the work created will be resonant and meaningful, as it will explore the performers own experiences and stories, and allow them to share these across very diverse contexts.”

Encountering the Other is a visionary project which harnesses energy, momentum and power to address issues, raise voices and trigger debate through art, engagement and participation. It is an opportunity to experience the thoughts, experiences and creative offerings of young people and to be reminded that, ‘Young people-led work is as valid an artistic proposition for audiences as the work presented on any main stage across the country. Why would audiences not want to hear about the issues and realities facing young people, and the new understandings of society, technology, race, sexuality and politics they are forging? Anyone interested in the future of theatre should witness the merging and reinvention of artforms and technologies with which young people are entirely comfortable’. (Matt Fenton, The Guardian, 2015)

Performances:

Saturday 14 October at 15:00 and 19:00
Tickets @R100 at the door and online www.webtickets.co.za
Students/Pensioners/Block bookings: R70
Venue: Ramolao Makhene Theatre| 138 Lilian Ngoyi St
For morning information contact
clara@marketlab.co.za / 011 832 1641 ext 301