Countdown to the Clanwilliam Arts Project and the 2017 Lantern Festival Begins

Countdown to the Clanwilliam Arts Project and the 2017 Lantern Festival Begins
The Lantern Festival

The Clanwilliam Arts Project, one of the highlights of which is always the Lantern Festival that heralds the culmination of the event, is back for the seventeenth year in a row. Magnet Theatre, in partnership with The University of Cape Town Drama Department, The University of Cape Town College of Music, The Michaelis School of Fine Arts and Jazzart Dance Theatre, will be working with some 700 learners in the Western Cape town of Clanwilliam when the project starts on 24 September. The project is generously funded by Rooibos LTD, with support from HCI and the Clanwilliam Sakekamer.

The facilitators and learners will be busy for a week, running workshops as they interpret and re-enact a story told by the /Xam, or Cape San, people who occupied the area they live in today, countless years ago.

The chosen story always holds a modern-day lesson for the children and is selected each year from an archive of San narratives recorded by colonial linguists Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek in the 1870s. This archive has formed the basis for the Clanwilliam Arts Project which is an ongoing collaboration between the University of Cape Town and Magnet Theatre.

The workshops culminate in a performance at which the results are enacted for the community. The performance is based on /Xam storytelling elements, including fire dancing, music and mythical objects made by the learners. It is preceded by a lantern-lit procession, a remarkable event which is witnessed by approximately 3 000 people every year and is considered to be one of the Western Cape's best-kept secrets.

Countdown to the Clanwilliam Arts Project and the 2017 Lantern Festival Begins
Children of Clanwilliam at the workshops

This year's parade and performance, of THE LIZARD, THE BEETLE, THE MICE AND THE MANTIS, takes place on 1 October at 18:30. For information about accommodation and sites to visit, please call the Clanwilliam Tourism Bureau on 027 482 2024 or visit the Clanwilliam Tourism website.

Magnet Theatre wishes to thank the following organisations without whom they would not be able to sustain their programme: Rolf- Stephan Nussbaum Foundation, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, Western Cape Governmental Cultural Affairs and Sport, Rand Merchant Bank, TK Foundation, Western Cape Government Expanded Public Work Programme, The Ampersand Foundation, Business and Arts South Africa,The Potjie Foundation and The Distell Foundation.

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