AS the Detours Festival celebrates its fifth birthday, the organisers are taking a moment to reflect on the last four years, the founding ethos of the festival and its growth as an experimental fringe platform.
The festival is produced by Wits Theatre for Wits School of Art, Division of Theatre and Performance. It will be held in the Wits Downstairs Theatre at 6 pm on May 26, 27 and 28 and 3 pm on May 29.
“We continue to promote alternative and experimental approaches to movement composition, choreography and physical theatre,” said festival co-director, Joni Barnard. “This year Detours responds directly to the academic climate both of Wits University and other campuses across South Africa by encouraging our student performers to engage with themes of creative resistance and insurrection.”
Since its inception in 2012, Detours has placed the nurturing of students and young professionals at the heart of its programme and this year it will include work from Wits senior physical theatre students, Wits fourth year dance theatre and composition choreography students, as well as work from Tshwane University of Technology and City Varsity.
There will also be an international exchange with the dance department at the University of Coventry in London. This exchange will take place in the form of an online interactive learning project between 10 students at the University of Coventry and 10 students from the division of theatre and performance at Wits University.
“This project is process-orientated, involving the students completing four choreographic tasks in the four weeks leading up to the festival,” said co-director, Jane Crewe. “The nature of this exchange is to encourage students to work independently and use online platforms to communicate and share their choreographic explorations and discoveries.
“The cross-continental online interaction of this process will be documented and presented at the Detours Festival platform. This presentation will take the form of a live Skype call between participants, where participants can interact and reflect on the project.”
Detours is interested in maintaining and growing the connections and relationships we have made with participants and students across the years. In 2016 the festival will be showcasing solo work from Nomcebisi Moyikwa, currently based at Rhodes University and Kwanele Finch Thusi, currently based in Johannesburg. Thusi will also be engaging with the work of the Wits fourth-year choreography students during process and assisting these students in the realisation of their choreographic works.
To enhance the educational aspect of the festival, Detours will be hosting a series of workshops that are open to both students and the public. These will include a workshop by Mersiha Mesihovic (New York) as well as workshops hosted by Nomcebisi Moyika and Kwanele Finch Thusi.
Tickets are R45 at www.webtickets.co.za or R50 at the door (students and pensioners: R30 online and R40 at the door; block booking of 10 or more – R30 per person).