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The Board of Trustees of the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) has approved nine festivals for support through the ACT Festivals Programme.

From the Press Release: ” “ACT recognises how increasingly powerful the FESTIVAL space has become in South Africa. It is of great value for our young participants and future creative entrepreneur’s to be exposed to not just the high level artistry of the work, but to be made aware of how the basic economy of a festival works. Enabling the participation of young under-resourced artists and learners in diverse festivals across the country promises to fuel creative and entrepreneurial dreams in going forward,” comments Brenda Devar, Chairperson of the Trust. The ACT Festivals Programme is sponsored by Breadline Africa (BLA), an African-based charity organisation which aims to help break the cycle of poverty within Africa. The Festivals Programme makes funding available to assist organisers to extend their programmes by subsidising the participation of artists, performers and groups from peri-urban and rural areas who may not otherwise be able to participate. The festivals selected for support are: – Back to the City Urban Youth Festival This year’s Freedom Day sees the fifth annual Back to the City Festival taking place in the inner city of Johannesburg. The aim of the festival is to bring young people from diverse backgrounds back to the city of Johannesburg to celebrate urban youth culture and to expose youth from underdeveloped communities to different art-forms. – The Cape Town International Guitar Youth Festival The festival targets specifically the youth and their families in a celebration of the nylon string acoustic guitar. The aims of the festival are to foster talent, transfer skills and develop the potential towards musical excellence through formal and informal concerts, master classes, workshops, exhibits, talks and the incentive of a competition with R 80,000 worth of prizes. – Community Theatre Youth Festival The Community Theatre Festival is the culmination of the Market Laboratory’s 2010/11 Fieldwork programme. The Laboratory’s Fieldworkers are trained professionals who work with community theatre groups in the townships and rural areas of South Africa. The Fieldwork programme is a skills training and empowerment programme mainly directed at the marginalised youth. – Family Season of Performances The Family Season, taking place during April, is a 10-day festival that creates opportunities for performances and workshops for young people and drama groups in the Western Cape. The Festival aims to expose the youth to high quality theatre, diverse in language, style and content, while also encouraging local theatre practitioners and theatre companies to create more and better theatre for the youth. – SA Schools Festivals Series The SA National Schools Festivals currently presents 11 festivals around the country, in 8 regions, with more than 47 productions, 150 workshops and 18 lectures. Costs directly related to facilitating the participation of previously disadvantaged learners who find difficulty in raising funds in order to attend the festivals are subsidized by the grant from ACT. – HRMC at NAF For the past twenty-seven years, high school students in Denmark have given a day of their education to raise funds for educational projects in the developing world. Representatives of Operation Dagsværk visited South Africa in 2005 and based on their research, decided to spend the funds they raised to benefit vulnerable youth on the Cape Flats. The project trained youth as oral historians and media practitioners to tell their life stories in a book and exhibition. The project took three years, from 2008 to 2010, to produce a 354 paged book titled Edge of the Table – Fourteen Cape Flats Youth tell their life stories and the multi-media traveling exhibition consisting of fourteen installations based on the stories. The book will be launched and exhibited as part of the Fringe Wordfest at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. – Ishashalazi Women’s Theatre Festival Launched in 2008, this Festival is aimed at female performing artists in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Ten short drama pieces of approximately 30 minutes each are presented at the festival which is scheduled to take place from 25 – 28 of August 2011. – Open Book Cape Town Open Book Cape Town, an annual literary festival is featuring top international and South African writers, incorporating 50 events over five days and kicking off its inaugural edition on 21 September. In addition, authors will be taken to schools and libraries in the larger metro area for readings, workshops and other events. The main events will take place at a number of venues in Cape Town’s East City Precinct and will take place from 21 – 25 September 2011. – Out The Box International Festival of Puppetry & Visual Performance The annual Out The Box International Festival of Puppetry & Visual Performance, directed by Janni Younge and Yvette Hardie, is a visual feast of performances, workshops, talks, exhibitions and films that caters for adults and children alike. This year the 10-day multi-disciplinary event will take place at the UCT Hiddingh campus in Gardens and other selected venues around Cape Town. The festival is designed to build bridges between artistic and cultural communities and inspire a love of diversity through the Arts. The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier, independent arts and culture funding and development agency. Internationally acclaimed South African playwright, Athol Fugard, is the Patron of the Trust. For more information about ACT’s programmes please visit www.act.org.za. “

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