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All the French events at the Grahamstwon National Arts Festival (28 June - 8 July 2012)

The Grahamstown National Arts Festival will offer SA audiences a first taste of the fare on offer during the French Season in South Africa, which runs from June to November this year. At the National Arts Festival the emphasis is on music, dance and diverse forms of theatre and includes several collaborative projects between French and South African artists. Concerts, dance, performances: discover all the exciting French events set for the National Arts Festival underneath...

Carine Bonnefoy New Large Ensemble: acclaimed Parisian pianist and composer Carine Bonnefoy returns to Grahamstown to showcase some of the compositions which have earned her a reputation as one of Europe’s leading composers and arrangers in jazz, classical and nu-music. In Grahamstown, she brings a beautiful mini-orchestra of strings, brass and rhythm section (the Carine Bonnefoy New Large Ensemble) in what is a vibrant collaboration between France and South Africa. As well as the Ensemble, she is also bringing her own quartet. Those who heard her in collaboration last year will have marvelled at the sensitivity of her playing and the complex depth of her compositions.

Symphony concert by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra: The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic will open the 2012 National Arts Festival with a concert of fantasy and favourites. Celebrating the cultural exchange between France and South Africa, the KZN Philharmonic presents an all-French programme, pairing two Romantic masterworks of Camille Saint-Saëns with the unjustly neglected symphony of Paul Dukas.

Vortex - A Fight for Life: Performance Art by the Non Nova company. "The wind makes people uneasy, tense, jumpy. It is cold. It requires us to adapt to it, rather that it adapting to us. In this sense it obliges us to let go and avoid trying to control everything – “to throw caution to the wind”. Over the past three years, Non Nova Company has been testing the wind in a pragmatic way, using experiments that resemble craft projects more than scientific research. In this show created out of that research, the wind is given space to breathe and yet it is not given totally free rein. Even though in this performance, Phia Ménard tries to tame it, the wind remains a mystery.

Afternoon of a Foehn: Performance Art by the Non Nova company. An extraordinary adventure into the depths of imagination, this performance is an art piece of choreography for puppets and their puppeteer, a ventilation system and a few props: a plastic bag, a coat, a pair of scissors, a roll of sticky tape, a walking stick and an umbrella, will have people of all ages fall in love with it. The work is accompanied by a soundtrack and composition created by Ivan Roussel using Claude Debussy’s music: Afternoon of a Foehn, Nocturnes and Dialogue of the Wind and Sea. A ballet mistress has created a piece of choreography performed by plastic dancers, propelled by currents of air.

!Aïa: Dance by the Théâtre Taliipot: !Aïa is a San name which means a special state of being. Following the success of The Water Carriers and Mâ Ravan, Théâtre Taliipot brings !Aïa, a transversal work between art, culture, science and traditional wisdom. It creates a dialogue about our origins and the relationship between human beings and nature. The company has worked with scientists, artists and traditional healers in unique places, including the Cradle of Humankind, and various places where one can still feel and see the tracks of the San people, the most ancient culture in the world. Beyond all the persecution and discrimination the San underwent, Théâtre Taliipot explores their vision, their experience and their expression of the origins, their link to earth, and to nature with which they are in everlasting empathy.

Ancestors: Public Art by the collective "Les Grandes Personnes". The collective has mixed sculpture and folk art by building giant puppets and performing with them. These machines of the imagination shift the boundaries that separate one art form from another. In 2008, the collective, after a 15-day workshop with community-based artists in Orange Farm, an informal settlement outside of Johannesburg, created South Africa’s first Giant Puppet Company. Born in 2010, the Giant Match Project involved over one hundred South African actors, musicians, dancers, puppeteers, visual artists and craftsmen from various communities in Gauteng as well as artists from "Les Grandes Personnes". It culminated in a show that toured several cities in South Africa.

Pudique Acide & Extasis: Dance by Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon. Pudique Acide was world premièred in March 1984 in New-York and Extasis in November 1985. They were re-staged for the opening the 2011 Montpellier Dance Festival in Languedoc-Roussillon. The creators devised a new staging of their first two joint productions – Pudique Acide and Extasis – prompted by a desire to reclaim and impart the essence of the creations, with two new dancers now in the choreographers’ shoes. This restaging also reasserts a commitment to unbridled youth and to a passion for raw existence.

Ster City: Theatre by The Carnets Sud/Nord and The Ster City Project. Ster City is one of the projects of the Carnets Sud/Nord (Notebooks South/North) - a travelling theatre and music creation laboratory from France, under the direction of Jean-Paul Delore. In Johannesburg, Jean-Paul Delore met two South African performers, Nicholas Welch and Lindiwe Matshikiza. Together with French musician, Dominique Lentin, they formed a trio with the idea to stage an hour-long History of South Africa - from prehistoric times until today - primarily for young audiences in France. The initial challenge was to play with ways to achieve this absurd task. The current challenge has been to adapt the game for South African audiences...

Nounouche – The Sideshow: Public Art by Fred Koenig, Toni Morkel and Nadine Hutton. “Roll up! Roll up! – come see Nounouche, the French Bear. Come on… meet her and her special friends. Want to pet her? Want to try her candy? You might bump into them unexpectedly on a street corner, in a parking lot, outside your front door...” Inspired by the 30’s French ‘Nounouche’ children’s comic books Toni Morkel, Nadine Hutton and Fred Koenig bring their personal 21st century wacky, funny and clever vision of this character who was, in 1930, traveling the world flying her own private little plane making friends with humans and animals by giving away candies ... Nounouche welcome back to Africa !

BIG TIME!: Music featuring Braka Quartet Elephants. BIG TIME! is an adventurous collaboration between township youth jazz musicians, Braka’s ELEPHANTS Quartet from Paris and star South African trumpeter Marcus Wyatt. Beyond musical innovation and compositional research, BIG TIME! is aimed at empowering South African youth musicians with an exposure to multinational musical expressions, the opportunity to be mentored by professional musicians and providing their groups with material and professional support during the project’s lifespan.

For dates, schedules and venues, please refer to this Brochure Grahamstown 2012 or consult www.nationalartsfestival.co.za




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