The ArtsAbility Festival pays homage to artists defying the odds

Nothing is impossible for the artists performing in the productions at The ArtsAbility Festival. Picture: Supplied

Nothing is impossible for the artists performing in the productions at The ArtsAbility Festival. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 29, 2023


The ArtsAbility Festival, presented annually by UNMUTE Dance Theatre in partnership with Artscape, is Africa’s premier inclusive arts festival celebrating International Day for persons living with disabilities.

For the next few days, Artscape will be hosting the festival with a plethora of productions that will leave audiences spellbound and impressed.

On Thursday, “Liberation Machine – Unmute Dance Company’s Story”, a film on the past 10 years of their work will play at 7pm. It is written, directed and produced by Mariza Matshaya and presented by Seismic Media.

“Isikhalo Sendoda (The Cry of a Man)”, a cathartic new solo offering by Andile Vellem, who lost his first-born son in late 2022, is part of the line-up.

The production unpacks his healing journey as an African Man.

Then there is “Adulting” by Philasande Majikela. The performance, which runs for an hour and 15 minutes, with no interval, is his POV on navigating the adult world.

On Friday, December 1, “SingaBantu “We Are People”, by Thandiwe Mqokeli, will take audiences on a journey about humanity through the relaxation of movement.

The other dance piece audiences will enjoy is “Chosen” by Lovatiana Rakatobe and Nacelle Larissa Somoh.

The performance is inspired by a true story that happened in the south of Madagascar, where a girl from a remote village was offered as a sacrifice for the survival of the people to protect them from a flood.

Saturday’s line-up opens with “ Diversity in Dance Volume 2”, at 2pm.

In this partnership between Artscape, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, Edinburgh Festival Carnival and Edinburgh College in Scotland, the programme exposes artists to different cultures through the performing arts.

At 7pm, on the same day, “Seize” by Sasha Fourie (SA) plays. The work is an attempt to unpack the state between consciousness and unconsciousness. And, in doing so, the relationship with disability and its ever-changing impact comes to the fore.

Last but not least, there is “WoMxn in Me”. Performed by Lethabo Shai and directed by Phuti Mojela, the dance explores the African idiom that says “it takes a village to raise a child”.

Ticket prices vary between R100 and R120. To book, visit Webtickets.


“A Spring Awakening”

The rock musical, directed by Sylvaine Strike, is presented by LAMTA.

The critically acclaimed, ground-breaking musical that is loosely set in 1895, has consistently pushed boundaries and captivated audiences with powerful storytelling, unforgettable music and thought-provoking themes that surround the trials and tribulations of growing up in the oppressive society of the day.

LAMTA students Dylan Janse van Rensburg and Scarlett Pay. Picture: Claude Barnardo

Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial play that was first performed in Germany in 1906, “Spring Awakening” delves into the lives of a group of adolescent students discovering their sexual identities and desires as they rebel against the prevailing burdensome and restrictive societal norms.

Under Strike’s visionary direction, this reimagined production will expertly bring the gripping and emotional story to life as it explores complex themes such as self-discovery, repression and the power of rebellion.

Award-winning designer Niall Griffin has taken an inspiring eco approach making all the props, scenery, wardrobe and everything in between from natural fibre products, with environmentally friendly paints and dyes used throughout.

Please note, the production is not suitable for persons under 13 as it contains mature themes, partial nudity, sexual situations as well as explicit language.

Where: Theatre on the Bay.

When: On until December 3 at 8pm.

Tickets: Prices vary between R250 and R350 and can be purchased from Webtickets.

“Marc Lottering – So I Wrote That Musical”

SA’s favourite comedian is back with a new stand-up comedy show.

To date, Lottering, famed for his “Aunty Merle” shows, has written three hit musicals.

In the offering, he weaves in his views on the madness of life as a South African .

“So I Wrote That Musical” runs for 80 minutes, with no interval, and is not suitable for children.

Where: The Pam Golding Theatre at The Baxter.

When: On until January 6, at 7.30pm, with matinees at 5pm.

Tickets: Prices range from R160 to R220 and can be purchased via Webtickets.