The Windybrow Arts Centre is more than a theatre!

09 June 2017

The 121-year-old Windybrow Heritage House which had been mothballed after it had gone into a state of disrepair has been given a new lease of life. After considerable restoration work made possible through a subsidy from the Department of Arts & Culture, the Market Theatre Foundation has re-opened the doors of the heritage house.

An extensive research programme commissioned by the Market Theatre Foundation forms the axis of a vibrant and dynamic programme for the Windybrow Arts Centre which is rising like a phoenix in Johannesburg’s cultural landscape.

“One of the primary findings to emerge is that the Windybrow Arts Centre needs to be a flexible space that will allow for flow of information, ideas, development and a safe space for young adults. We want it to be a space where the constituency around the Windybrow Arts Centre can engage with confidence and optimism”, said Ismail Mahomed, the CEO of the Market Theatre Foundation.

“We want the Windybrow Arts Centre to be responsive to the community needs and challenges. The Centre must courageously engage with the immediate community around social issues through art-based methodologies and with a long-term goal of building a strong creative economy in and around the centre’, he added.

Last month the Market Theatre Foundation introduced a unique 8 months arts residency project which will bring together Sticky Situations and The Coloured Cube to activate a series of arts, cultural and heritage events using neighborhood engagement methodologies and participatory management.

Both Sticky Solutions and The Coloured Cube have extensive experience working in the Inner City and Hillbrow communities. They had barely moved into the Windybrow Arts Centre and they already started to attract young people to participate in several after-school programmes. The laughter of children now rings through all the hallways of the heritage house.

“What excites me about The Windybrow Arts Centre is the strong connection to arts and culture and how this centre will not just be a safe space but rather open the doors to a world of theatre, dance, visual arts, poetry, literature, music and all else associated with arts and culture; it will also have a strong focus on the African diaspora. Getting people here is just the beginning of our vision!’ said Maria-Paola McGurk on behalf of the residency company.

The Fete de la Musique concert is only the first of several events lined up at the Windybrow Arts Centre and which will be presented through the Market Theatre Foundation’s partnership with various embassies, corporates and cultural institutions. The four-hour concert will feature

Sax Machine, Chefs Kitchen Shoe Lace, Zama and The Alan and a Marimba Band.

‘Very appropriately our work at The Windybrow Arts Centre begins in Youth Month. This month so many exciting programs, partnerships and events are already taking place and it fills us with great enthusiasm that our vision is achievable. Later this month we will be announcing our first official partnership with a corporate who shares our vision. We are also in conversation with a range of embassies, cultural institutions, neighborhood groups and businesses, artists and artistic businesses who want to get involved and be part of this incredible journey. We welcome others who would like to get involved to contact us with their ideas. The Windybrow Arts Centre can only come alive again if we have a variety of key stakeholders on board, thankfully this is already starting to happen!’ Added Maria – Paola McGurk.

The Windybrow Arts Centre is situated at 161 Nugget Street, corner Pieterson Street, Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

For further information and interviews contact:

Lusanda Zokufa, Senior Publicist, Market Theatre
011 832 1641 ext 202 or 072 367 7867
lusandaz@markettheatre.co.za