Women’s Humanity Arts Festival 2020As South Africa tackles the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Artscape Theatre has decided to proceed with the 14th edition of its popular Women’s Humanity Arts Festival 2020, albeit as a series of live and pre-recorded online events taking place between 9 and 31 August 2020.

Funded by the City of Cape Town and scheduled to officially open on 9 August, this virtual festival will have a full programme of dance and theatre performances, panel discussions and podcasts. Even the Women’s Humanity Walk organised by Woman Zone, which each year sees thousands of participants take to the streets from an iconic building and walking in unity to the Artscape piazza, will be a special virtual edition this year. It will take viewers on a complete tour of Cape Town’s city sites that relate particularly to women, past and present.

All the shows and performances will be accessible via the Artscape website: www.artscape.co.za

 Under the theme, “Freedom and Inclusivity for All Humanity”, this year’s festival will shine a spotlight firmly on South Africa’s continuing epidemic of gender-based violence.

Women’s Humanity Arts Festival 2020

Highlights of the Women’s Humanity Arts Festival 2020

On 9 August, female dancers from Cape Town’s renowned Jazzart Dance Theatre will perform An-Nur (pictured left), which was created by dance-maker Vuyolwethu Nompetsheni, a 2018 graduate of the Jazzart three-year dance programme. According to Nompetshini, the piece reflects a mood and a movement which is resonating around the globe right now, with the dancers expressing the raw vulnerability of women everywhere, their pain to be heard and seen, and their daily struggles to be taken seriously.

The Absolutely Fabulous Drag Show (ABFAB) also showcases on 9 August with top class drag divas Vida von Tabisher, SA’s Got Talent 2016 runner-up Manila von Teez, as well as Kat Gilardi, Jayde Kay Johnson and Angel Lalamore of gay cabaret “3D trio” fame.

From the comfort of their own homes, audiences can watch 21 Questions – Unmute, an adaptation of Trapped which was created by the Magnet Theatre Company in 2015. This work is based on the experiences of Nadine Mckenzie, who has been living with a disability since she was a toddler. Throughout her life, Nadine has been faced with questions from strangers who assume that people with disabilities are a different species to humans. 21 Questions engages with these stereotypes through documented questions posed to people living with disabilities. The work is choreographed and performed by Mckenzie under the direction of Themba Mbuli and with Siphenathi Mayekiso as a puppeteer.

Audiences will also be able to tune into a number of Woman Zone podcasts, where women writers and their stories will be celebrated. The line-up of six includes conversations with Portia Mbau and Lumai Mira De Smidt, the mother-and-daughter team behind The Africa Cookbook, Colleen Higgs, founder of Modjaji women’s publishers on My Mother, My Madness, Kelly-Eve Koopman on her book Because I Couldn’t Kill You, Philippa Kabali-Kagwa on Storytelling as a breathing space, Olivia Cotzee on Innie Shadows and Hedi Lampert on The Trouble with My Aunt. Woman Zone will also be hosting a National Woman’s Day  radio show to be broadcast on Fine Music Radio (FMR) 10 August and featuring a line-up of women involved in the Festival.

Women’s Humanity Arts Festival 2020

Inaugural concert

The festival will also host the inaugural Kirvan Fortuin Memorial Benefit Concert. Kirvan (pictured right), a highly acclaimed choreographer, community builder and LGBTI+ activist, was stabbed to death during a personal altercation in Cape Town last month. The concert will feature an array of highly talented and renowned South African and international artists comprising dance, singing and poetry. It will be streamed on 10 August 2020 at 8 pm on the streaming site – South African Theatre on Demand (www.satod.co.za). The viewing fee is R55.

What: Women’s Humanity Arts Festival 2020

Where and when: www.artscape.co.za from 9 to 31 August 2020