Performances from Dutch theatre group

The visiting Stut Theatre group from the Netherlands had a busy week in Durban at the beginning of Novembe r, performing to students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg), at the Stable Theatre, at the Isigcawu Festival and in Umlazi. The group also meet with a number of other community theatre groups at arts centres around Durban. They were well-received, and the new Twist groups in particular loved the story-telling workshop that was facilitated by director Sharon Varekamp and actor Guner Guven.

Dutch community theatre expert, Eugene van Erven was part of the visiting group, and took part as a judge of the Isigcawu Festival; he describes being “exhausted but also incredibly enriched by this immersion in contemporary community theatre from Kwauzlu-Natal.”

Netherlands Embassy ‘meet and greet’
Twist co-ordinated a meet and greet session in November between Jeroen Martens from the Netherlands Embassy and a wide range of arts managers and practitioners from Durban. This session was a chance for the Embassy to hear about the projects that Durban-based arts groups are involved in, as well as to talk about their strategy for cultural exchange over the coming years. It was a fruitful session, and we hope that relationships between the parties will continue to grow.

Induction with new Twist groups
The four new Twist groups were part of a weekend of talks, workshops and watching performances as part of their first experience with Twist. The workshops involved the story-telling workshop from Stut, as well as an inspiring workshop from renowned writer-director Neil Coppen. Neil’s workshop sparked new ideas for the groups to think about their new shows that they will create with an allocated artistic mentor through the Twist programme. Jerry Pooe, Twist co-founder and a well-know artistic director addressed the groups and talked about their expectations for their journey with Twist. The groups left the weekend feeling inspired for the projects to come.

Groups work with artistic mentors
The Twist groups have started working with their artistic mentors to develop new productions for 201. These productions will premiere as two-handers at the annual Musho! Theatre Festival in January. Afriboa worked with Twist’s own Xolani Dlongolo and Roel Twijnstra; Izwi Youth Group worked with Neil Coppen; Siyathuthuka Arts with Port Elizabeth-based theatre writer, Zwai Mgijima; and Lashona Arts with Johannesburg director Vice Monageng. We look forward to seeing the fruits of these collaborations. The groups will perform on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January. For details about the festival, see,za

Two new Dutch groups to visit Twist in January
Twist is hosting Dutch performing artists Dette Glashouwer and Nick Steur in Durban in January 2014, as part of our skills and performance exchange projects funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Both artists will be performing at the Musho! Theatre Festival, and will be facilitating workshops for local performing artists and community theatre groups. Dette will be performing two short plays at the Catalina Theatre on Sunday 19 January at 6 pm, “Money and Enough” and “Dette goes to Africa”. The plays look at money and what it means. She will be presenting a physical theatre performance Masterclass for performing artists on Monday 20 January. Nick will be performing his production “Freeze” at the Catalina Theatre on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January at 12 noon. It is a performance piece involving balancing rocks, and has garnered attention around the world. We look forward to seeing how it is received here!

Wrapping up 2013
Twist has had a great year, from graduating two groups earlier in the group, to receiving new funding, and taking in 4 new groups. We have welcomed many artists from the Netherlands over this year as part of our exchange programme, and have linked many local artists with each other. We have met new people and built new relationships which we hope will continue to benefit community theatre groups in KZN. We anticipate a great 2014, and wish all our friends and supporters a happy and peaceful holiday period.