Within every tree, every river and every creature on this Earth, each of our stories are infinitely told. They whisper our names in the wind and ask that we listen more closely to what we used to know but have recently forgotten… Well Worn, Seka and Jungle theatre companies collaborate across Southern Africa to bring you The Baobab: a site-responsive eco-play for the National Arts Festival in 2014.The Baobab: an African eco-play for our times.The Baobab
will draw together for the first time, three Southern African sister companies: Well Worn Theatre in Johannesburg, Jungle Theatre in Cape Town and Seka Theatre in Mfuwe, Zambia. All three companies are leaders in their field of ecological advocacy and social activism through theatre excellence. The collaboration will foster an exchange of skills and methodologies as well as a co-devising process which will result in a new, outdoor physical theatre production, for all ages, in the Rhodes Botanical Gardens at the National Arts Festival in 2014. The production will premiere on the Fringe programme, appearing daily at sunset in the beautiful Botanical Gardens alongside the Re-Imagining programme at the Rhodes Environmental Learning Research Centre. The Baobab
a new, site-responsive African eco-play, explores the rich (yet threatened) cultural and ecological heritage of the isiVenda people and their land. This play relates to the broader vision of the global Rights for Nature Movement, which aims to: ‘create a positive vision for the future and a common African language on mediating our current and future relationship with nature. … a conversation that seeks to connect African people to progressive and alternative debates elsewhere in the world, while building a movement for solidarity, cooperation and empowerment to defend themselves and their natural communities from destructive forces emerging from modern day capitalism.’ (http://therightsofnature.org/the-peoples-charter-for-africa/)
This growing global social change movement acknowledges that nature, in all its life forms, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. Just like humans.What do we need?
Making a new play from scratch is an expensive business, especially with so many partners situated so far away from each other. We are looking at raising funds (and have happily already had some success!) from a diverse range of sources including embassies, NGO's and other arts and culture programmes. For our Thundafund campaign, we thought we would concentrate solely on raising our travel budget. Not only does this seem like a realistic amount to try and gather but also, the travel between each of our home countries is an integral part of the creative and workshopping process. Milestones:Milestone 1: The Tipping Point! We crowdfund this amount & our project is good to go!Milestone 1: R26 000.00 - Get us to Zambia!
In order to start the process, 3 of us (Director and 3 performer/devisors) need to get to Seka’s home in Mfuwe, Zambia where we will spend 10 days in research and development.Milestone 2: R56 000.00 - Get us to Venda!
To continue our journey, all 5 of us (Director, Designer and 3 performer/devisors) need to get back to Jo’burg then onwards to Venda country in Limpopo where we will spend 4 days around ‘The Big Tree’.Milestone 3: R89 700.00 Get us to Grahamstown!
Once the play is made, we need to get down to Grahamstown to perform it at the National Arts Festival and afterwards, make sure that everyone returns home safely.
It is essential that we spend time in each other's places and work spaces in order to better understand one another’s practice as well as delve into the theme that we would like to collectively explore which Director, Kyla Davis, describes as the following:'....using the Mighty Baobab then, as a shared symbol of ecological empathy and indigenous African heritage, Seka, Jungle and Well Worn will create a collection of physical-theatre stories around one important theme: what is our relationship to nature today? Are we all, especially in urban environments, fully alert to our deeply intertwined dependency on the dynamic yet ancient and knowledgeable life systems that support us? If so, then how do we destroy them so easily? Could we find our way back, in our fast-paced, future world to a place where nature is still alive to us, also has rights to life?'