Cape to Cape: notes on South African fieldwork

I have recently spent a little over a month travelling between Cape Town and Grahamstown in South Africa, sitting-in and observing rehearsals for productions showing at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival 2016. My trip has included meeting with Mandla Mbothwe at Artscape in Cape Town and watching performances from his high-calibre ensemble rehearsing for Ityala la Mawele. The production is adapted by Thando Doni, created by the company, with musical direction by Bongi Mantsai and directed by Thando Doni and Mandla Mbothwe. I have also been privy to The work of Ubom! at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, an ensemble devising and developing the children’s show Langa Yanta – Monster Hunter, directed by Kyla Davis. I have viewed more than 30 productions as part of the National Arts Festival and full with the extensive range of multilingual performance practices in the Eastern Cape during this time.

For now, this is a brief update, a shot from my window in Cape Town and some other brief glimpses of the sights. I hope that the complex of ideas will be organised and made sense of in my upcoming PhD research.

Claire French is a performance maker and researcher, specialising in multilingual, applied and autobiographical performance.