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BWW Interview: Vicky Friedman on Helping Performers in Need with Noah's Art

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New organization has so far distributed 1900 grocery vouchers to performers and their families across South Africa

BWW Interview: Vicky Friedman on Helping Performers in Need with Noah's Art

At the beginning of this year a team of theatre and dance professionals came together to create Noah's Art - a charity organization collecting money and food for local performing artists affected financially by the pandemic. One of its founding members, Vicky Friedman, tells us more about their worthy cause.

BWW: Let's start by talking about the start of Noah's Art. How did it come into being and what was your passion behind it?

Vicky: In 2020 the COVID pandemic brought the live performing arts industry to a complete standstill. By January 2021, live performance artists had not worked for almost a year. In a conversation with my friend - choreographer David Matamela - we discussed how dancers were living on a meal a day and that one of the dancers had become so weak that his neighbours had to intervene to help him back to strength. Discussions followed with my close group of girl friends who are each established professionals in the arts. We realized that we could not stand by and watch while fellow artists suffered the indignity of hunger, unemployment, loss of homes, emotional turmoil and uncertainty.

BWW: What has the support for Noah's Art been like so far? How did you gather the team?

Vicky: Noah's Art has received wonderful support as people have resonated with the cause. The Angel Network, an established and highly effective charity, made the first large donation and so we were able to gain momentum. Thankfully we have had some generous donors over the last 6 months. We are however now in urgent need of additional funding.BWW Interview: Vicky Friedman on Helping Performers in Need with Noah's Art

The founding group of artists are a group of friends who also collaborate in the entertainment space. One such project was "Zoom Room"; an online play written by Sharon Spiegel-Wagner, produced by VR Theatrical, directed by Shelley Lothian for the 2020 National Arts Festival. It starred the Noah's Art ladies; Sharon Spiegel-Wagner, Lorri Strauss, Talia Kodesh, Shelley Meskin, Caryn Katz and me! We also had Hannah Rudnicki join our team in 2021 to look after social media.

BWW: What has been the most rewarding part of running Noah's Art?

Vicky: It is extremely rewarding to work with like-minded friends to assist an industry that we are passionate about. Just knowing that we have helped a family to get through the month is rewarding. It is important that we do not turn a blind eye. The team at Noah's Art do not receive any financial benefit nor payment, instead they willingly give of their time to keep artists afloat. I am so proud to be part of this.

BWW Interview: Vicky Friedman on Helping Performers in Need with Noah's Art BWW: How do you balance being a performer and running Noah's Art? What has your career been like over the past year?

Vicky: When lockdown hit, I was directing a national roadshow and I had a small theatre production about to go into rehearsal. Everything stopped in March 2020. I took the opportunity to become involved in multiple community projects - an online talk show for young actors and some experimental online productions. I know that when the time comes, I will return to directing, producing and running Fame Academy (kids musical theatre workshops). Now is the time to respond to the silent crisis of the entertainment industry.

BWW: What is your hope for the future of the arts in South Africa after the pandemic? Have your views on the industry changed at all?

Vicky: I am hoping that after spending so much time online, audiences will be excited to return to theatres for that live entertainment experience. Perhaps post-pandemic, creativity will flourish. The pandemic has shown us that artists in South Africa can no longer operate in a fragmented way. We have seen the importance of uniting as a creative sector to effect change. Our dream at Noah's Art is that artists can get back to work safely and that the art they create will be highly valued by all sectors of society.

Photo credit: Supplied


Noah's Art is urgently appealing to anyone who is able to lend their support at this critical timeBWW Interview: Vicky Friedman on Helping Performers in Need with Noah's Art by donating food vouchers through a financial contribution to kindly donate by depositing in the Noah's Art bank account, Investec Bank Limited, Acc No: 50016898206, Branch No: 580105, Reference: Donor name. Please consider helping Noah's Art to support our artists. Follow them on Facebook @Noah'sArt and Instagram @noahsart_organisation #noahsart #keepourartistsafloat. Enquiries can be sent to noahsartcharity@gmail.com


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