The Clanwilliam Arts Project includes archeology, education, art and drama and is aimed at returning the heritage of the Clanwilliam area to the community.
“The parade begins at dusk. The local band leads the children, carrying figures and puppets and candle powered lanterns, wearing masks and helmets through the township. As it darkens and the procession weaves through the streets it becomes a magical display of glowing lights hovering almost disembodied against the black mountains and deep violet sky.
Hundreds of people come pouring out of the little houses and join the parade until they reach the wood mill where dancers make fire drawings from sawdust and actors tell stories. The whole performance is illuminated by the lanterns and evokes the first campfires and the story telling performances of the San who have been this projects inspiration.”
Professor Pippa Skotnes
The Clanwilliam Arts Project is in its 17th year. It is an annual project co-ordinated by Magnet Theatre and includes student facilitators from UCT Drama School, Michaelis School of Art, UCT Music School, ComNet and other independent practitioners who all use the project as a site for community arts training. Workshops in art, drama, dance, lantern making, storytelling, drumming, stilt walking and fire performance are run with 700 learners from the schools in Clanwillliam over the period of a week in early September. The project culminates in a lantern parade and performance of a /Xam narrative (chosen from the Bleek and LLoyd collection) by the children and the facilitators and is attended by between 2 500 and 3000 audience from the town.
The project has been supported by BASA, Fairheads Financial Services, Milagro Foundation, Rooibos Ltd, Cederberg Municipality, Zoo Biscuit, Rand Merchant Bank, University of Cape Town and ATKV.