Newtown Festival to rock 2010

20 May 2010

Newtown, Johannesburg’s creative hub, is hosting a cultural festival during the 2010 Fifa World Cup to show the world what Joburg – and South Africa – has to offer.

The Newtown 2010 Festival offers a month of music, dance, theatre, spoken-word poetry, literature, craft, film, photography, science, outdoor performances and visual art in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues.

The festival forms part of the Newtown Management District’s plans for marketing the precinct, after receiving funding from the Lotteries Board for a 2010 programme, which includes a 2010 legacy project.

Located in the heart of the city, with safe and easy access from the Nelson Mandela Bridge and the Carr Street M1 interchange, Newtown is awash with theatres, art galleries, restaurants, museums, dance studios, craft markets, nightclubs and jazz spots.

‘Uniquely South African

“The Lotto funding is being used to create an atmosphere in the precinct that is fresh, energetic, creative and uniquely South African,” says Kate Shand, marketing manager for the Newtown Management District. “Newtown will definitely be the place to be during the World Cup.”

According to Shand, the Newtown 2010 Festival aims to ensure that the World Cup celebrations are felt not only in Newtown’s theatres, galleries, museums and restaurants, but also on the streets and in public spaces among visitors, pedestrians and commuters, with open stage free performances on offer.

The festival will also involve the city’s more deprived communities. Financial support will help to boost local contemporary and traditional performers and musicians, for instance through the busking programme, which will be held in key spots throughout the Newtown precinct.

A traditional dance programme at Mary Fitzgerald Square will ensure that visitors are treated to something distinctly South African. Music and dance performances in isibhaca, isigeke, ushameni, maskandi, indlamu and many more styles will transform this public space into a popular gathering place.

Art, science, dance …

A kiddies’ corner at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre will keep the children entertained with active education and games, musicians, clowns, magicians, acrobats, jugglers, jumping castles, and street theatre and dance performances.

The indoor programme includes Jo Stromgren Kompani’s “A Dance Tribute to the Art of Football” at the Dance Factory, Brett Bailey’s “House of the Holy Afro” at the Market Theatre, plenty of African jazz at the Bassline – and much more.

Newtown’s galleries and museums will run exhibitions and student programmes related to the history of South African and African soccer. “The Science of Soccer” at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre will take a fascinating new angle on the beautiful game, while “Artists of Africa” at MuseumAfrica will feature the work of artists and crafters from all over the continent.

The Newtown precinct’s restaurants will host free music and poetry performances, and The African Bookshop will host regular poetry and book reading sessions.

2010 legacy project

The 2010 legacy project will bring to life Newtown’s rich physical, cultural and political history, which is reflected in its many historic buildings – many of which have been restored and developed, becoming homes to the Newtown cultural sector.

Creative signage, a documentary, a website and a companion brochure will make Newtown’s heritage and cultural life more accessible to visitors.

The legacy project also involves the training of five Newtown-specific site guides and hospitality for front-of-house and security staff at various attractions and venues.

A marketing and publicity plan has already begun to drive awareness of the festival and generate interest among both Joburg residents and 2010 visitors to the city.

“Newtown is going to be absolutely pumping during the World Cup,” says Shand. “We’d like to encourage locals and visitors to come and mingle at the Newtown 2010 Festival – or risk missing out on experiencing the most happening place in Joburg!”

SAinfo reporter

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