Make ready for the 5th cutting edge edition of the My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival @MyBodyMySpace

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The fifth annual My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival (MBMS) is almost here and boasts a top line-up of some of South Africa’s leading artists performing cutting edge dance, theatre, music and spoken word poetry. Running from 23 to 28 April 2019, MBMS is an experience not to be missed and with only two and a half hours travel time from Johannesburg it is perfect for a weekend away or even a day trip.

MBMS, funded this year by the National Arts Council, brings the transformative power of the arts directly to the rural communities in Emakhazeni while boosting tourism to the area and the local economy.

“The MBMS is really important for our area, we haven’t had much marketing over the years and people tend to drive past the area. MBMS is bringing people to Machadodorp, which is a really lovely unspoilt village in the Mpumalanga Highlands. We have restaurants, bars, supermarkets and accommodation, so it provides business to all the small businesses in the area,” says Trina Matheson, Chairperson of the Mpumalanga Highlands Meander Tourism Association.

The MBMS festival is an opportunity to embrace the rich diversity of South Africa’s performing arts while enjoying Mpumalanga’s beauty and hospitality. There is still a variety of accommodation options available and plenty of dining choice. The weather is variable, and visitors should make sure they come prepared for all sorts of weather conditions with hats, jackets and umbrellas in tow. There is lots to see and enjoy so comfortable walking shoe are a must.

The festival is made up of three programmes: The Arteries Programme (a fringe programme of community activations from 23 to 26 April 2019), the Central Nervous System Programme (commissioned performances in public spaces in and around Machadodorp between 26 and 28 April 2019), and a workshop and training programme (aimed primarily at the youth, women and people with disabilities). Entrance to all performances, installations, activations, exhibitions and workshops is free.

“The My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival continues to grow and each year we make the arts more accessible to everyone in the community. We cross socio-economic and political boundaries and form bridges between community artists and professional artists, creating a space where all people can be moved by an arts experience,” says PJ Sabbagha from the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative and curator of the MBMS festival.

“MBMS really creates a “Grahamstown vibe” in our village and we are looking forward to artists galore because these performances are world class,” Matheson adds.

The full programme is available on Facebook at My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival (@MyBodyMySpace), or email pj@forgottenangle.co.za.

The MBMS 2019 Festival is supported by The National Arts Council, the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative at the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre, Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation, Emakhazeni Local Municipality, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud, Business and Arts South Africa, University of Johannesburg Arts and Culture, Rand Merchant Bank, Wits University Drama for Life, Millys of Machado, Outreach Foundation/Bienvenu Shelter/The Market Laboratory/The Kwasha! Theatre Company/The Mothertongue Project, Vuyani Dance Theatre, Moving into Dance Mophatong, Unmute, I’Trôtra/Vahinala, JC Zondi/University of KwaZulu-Natal, Jerahuni Movement Factory, Converge +, Unknown Assets, Luthando Arts Academy, Nantea Dance Theatre, Patriots Dance Theatre, Perzani Dance Theatre, Video Art Gallery, Joint Minds, Rudi van der Merwe/Skree Wolf, Lorin Sookool/The Floating Outfit Project, Achievers Super Buddies, Ehlanzeni arts academy, Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Studies, Buz Publicity, 360 Zebra Online, Splitbeam, Absolute Leisure Cottages, The Old Mill, Greys inn, The Ar(t)chive, Chazon Tekna, Lebo Mashile, Tshego Khutsoane, Adelle Nqeto, Janete Mulapha, Lulu Mlangeni, David April/Xolisile Bongwana, Kwanele Finch Thusi, Songezo Mcilizeli, Nondumiso Lwazi Msimanga/NLM, Mpho Makua, Moeketsi Koena, Lucia Walker, Kathrin Sirthl, Christo Doherty.

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) is one of South Africa’s leading dance organisations, which is strongly committed to mobilising the arts as a vehicle for personal and social transformation.

Since its inception in 1995, the collaborative has been dedicated to the creation of innovative and provocative South African dance theatre. Under the Artistic Directorship of PJ Sabbagha, it has produced a prolific body of work dedicated to the probing of critical personal and social issues. The organisation has emerged as a leading voice within a new wave of South African “protest”’ or “issue-based” dance theatre.

FATC’s Artistic Programme has gained a significant international footprint with projects, performances and residencies in Russia, Holland, Mexico, Tanzania, Mali, Madagascar, Mozambique, Reunion Island, France, Taiwan, Sweden, Germany, Namibia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Djibouti, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Chad, Gabon and Tunisia.

In 2015 the organisation relocated its operations to Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga, and established the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre. With this move it has been able to deliver on its objective to facilitate, develop and advance the role of South African artists, arts organisations, NGOs and community-based organisations as progressive and dynamic agents of personal development and societal transformation.

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