Community Arts Development: Cederberg Municipality

The communities along the N7 are historically some of the most un-serviced, under-resourced and isolated in the region. Magnet Theatre has been working in the area for the past 15 years running the Clanwilliam Arts Project with the support  of, up until 2012, Fairheads Financial Services. The project is a week-long arts residency with now  700 school learners focused around /Xam stories from the Bleek and Lloyd Collection. Fairheads won a BASA award in the Youth Development Category for the Clanwilliam Arts Project in 2011. In 2014, the Clanwilliam Arts Project received support from Rooibos Ltd, Milagro Foundation, Cededberg Municipality, BASA, Zoo Biscuit rand Merchant Bank and The university of Cape Town.

Over time we have extended our work across the entire Cederberg region (Clanwilliam, Citrusdal, Lamberts Bay, Wuppertal, Graafwater, Elizabethsfontein, Kweekkraal) providing year round support and input to learners, youth groups and young people in trouble, all of whom are hungry for creative artistic participation and conversation.

The Community Arts Development Project: Cederberg Municipality is designed to increase, deepen and extend the existing exchange into a more meaningful and sustained intervention that strengthens existing structures in the region and grows new ones. Magnet Theatre has placed a fieldworker trained in Community Theatre in the region from 2009 on a full-time basis and has established a youth drama group COMNET with currently 25 members. Our aim is to develop more youth drama groups in the area, providing them with skills and supporting their involvement in local festivals, community events and regional competitions. Our fieldworker also assists Arts and Culture teachers in the Junior and High Schools in the Cederberg municipality as well as developing a more sustained intervention in the BOSASA complex in Clanwilliam – a facility for youth at risk and awaiting-trial prisoners. The sustained presence of our fieldworkers running workshops in creativity imagination and skill as well as interventions that contribute to values of tolerance and understanding of different communities impacts significantly on the quality of life of young people in these areas. Magnet Theatre as part of the CAD also tours Magnet Theatre productions to venues and spaces along the N7, exposing audiences in those communities to theatrical experiences of high level of skill and expertise.

In 2014 the programme was extended to include an intervention on the Farms in the area and was facilitated by Nolan Africa and Rozanne Holland, a local facilitator. Nolan and Rozanne visited 4 sites in the Cederberg Municipality 2 weeks of every month running workshops in play and imagination.

In 2017 we have identified 3 residencies over the year, where a skilled facilitator will continue the work on the Farm schools developing skills and after school activities all linked thematically to the Clanwilliam Arts Festival in September.

In 2018, with the NLC we have been able to run a series of  weekend workshops focussing on the arts and Culture Curriculum in the primary school to support the arts and Culture teachers in the Cederberg Municipality. Follow up workshops were then also run in the schools in the following week in dance, drama and art.