Joburg arts festival alive with magic

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pretoria - The 2011 Joburg Arts Alive International Festival promises to be nothing short of spectacular as dazzling world class live shows come to the city.

The City of Joburg has been giving Joburg's residents the gift of South Africa's biggest urban arts festival for 19 years.

Running from September 1 - 25, this year's Arts Alive programme boasts incredible diversity, covering music, theatre, dance, comedy, visual arts, the spoken word, film and the "festivals within a festival" that Arts Alive has become known for.

The City's director of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Steven Sack, said they want everyone in the city to take advantage of the 2011 Arts Alive Festival with 58 performances.

"It's also a really easy way for Joburgers to explore a different part of the city, much in the way many did during the 2010 FIFA World Cup," he said.

The City of Joburg now boasts better infrastructure in terms of its public transport, including the BRT system.

"Diversity is the key to Johannesburg's success as a city in so many ways. When we say there is something for everyone this year, there really are both in terms of the arts genres on offer and the pricing, with many of the events open to the public at no cost, like the annual Jazz on the Lake," he said.

Jazz on the Lake, taking place on Sunday, September 4 at Zoo Lake, features a truly great line-up of musical talent including singer Xoliswa Dlamini, award-winning vocalist Melanie Scholtz, pop outfit Watershed, the riveting Indian act Rajasthan Rocks, Afro-dub pioneers 340ml, jazz musician Victor Ntoni and top international Nigerian singer-songwriter, Asa.

The opening ceremony will be at the Fringe at the Joburg Theatre on September 1 and it will be free to arts lovers and features newly commissioned work from musician Pops Mohamed and poet Don Mattera.

This will be followed by a performance of Season of Simplicity by Agulhas Theatre Works.

On the last day of the festival, September 25, there will be a special showing of The Fall & Rise of the Phoenix - Instrumental Theatre in motion, a new piece from the US-based, award-winning Spirit of America, which is having its world premiere at Arts Alive 2011 and runs from September 21 - 25.

The annual Joburg Arts Alive International Festival plays a key role in fulfilling many of the City's key mandates.

One of these is job creation. In 2010, with 65 000 people having attended the festival, 500 artists benefited from employment, with a further 200 jobs created in associated industries.

Others include the development of the arts through an inclusive programme that reaches into all the seven regions of the city, and this year makes extensive use of the City of Joburg-owned complex, Joburg Theatre, for the first time.

The biggest urban arts festival in the country also plays a key role in unifying the residents of Johannesburg, as well as building bridges with the outside world through partnerships with governments of different countries.

These include countries such as Brazil, China, Cuba, France, India, Jamaica, Switzerland, Taiwan, Spain, Portugal the USA and the U.K.

"At the heart of this amazing festival, is a desire to give the residents of the City of Joburg great entertainment and access to the arts in a very easy way.
"We hope our residents will take up the challenge to see at least one of close to 60 performances on offer in all parts of this great city of ours," said Sack.

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