01 July, 2009

Festival goes to prison

By FJP reporters

“The Arts festival is really powerful, touches different people magically and changes attitudes,” said Tony Lankester, CEO of the National Arts Festival held in Grahamstown annually. Last year, Lankester and his people donated over R200.000 worth of tickets to groups and people from around Grahamstown and the Eastern Cape.

Community outreach has played a major role in sustaining interest in the arts especially among the more isolated parts of Grahamstown like age-old homes, the TB Clinic, the Old Provost Prison and Joza Township. Lankester told an FJP press conference yesterday that they help build bridges through Art Reach, which takes productions and artists to audiences who cannot get to Rhodes and surrounding high school venues.

The festival also uses the Phezulu Project, a programme that assists street artists (Buskers) to create and maintain their craft. The project is headed by Richard Antrobus who used to perform with the First Physical Theatre Company and now teaches Buskers the more technical forms of theatre.

“We want people to feel that this is their festival,” Lankester said.

Reported and Written by Zukiswa Sidzumo, Masebe Qina, Lucky Mdletshe and Amanda O Mathe

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