Welcome to the Cape Town Fringe by Executive Producer Ashraf Johaardien
Cape Town is a complex space and for me any festival which is a true reflection of the Mother City needs to reflect that complexity. And, given that Fringe Festivals are such complex endeavours, intuitively it then seemed that this year’s decentralised model of a performance circuit situated where people live and work could perhaps be a better mirror for more accurately reflecting both the sprawling geography and complicated history of this place than the Cape Town Fringe has perhaps done to date.
But what do I even mean by that? And what exactly is this ubiquitous fringe model that I imagine that I am referring to? Is it about the ticket price, the content on the programme, and /or the location of the participating venues? Or is the Fringe just a home for the terminally reactionary?
Could it be all of those things and none of them all at the same time?
Well, I reckon it’s exactly those contradictions that map out who we are – here and now – not only in Cape Town, but also as a nation navigating the slings and arrows of outrageous life in this country …
For me, the idea and model of a fringe needs to be about the artists. It must be about the work. It has to be about placing the festival-goer at the heart of the festival experience. These bigger-picture-things that are about building something for the future. Something that brazenly flashes a zap sign at convention, at the fourth wall and at making art the way we were in the way were – in favour of imagining new ways that we could be – and could be making art – in spite of all of that undeniably complicated history which we have had to navigate as people divided, here at the southernmost tip of the continent.
For me, this 2017 Fringe says “forget you” to all of that and defiantly chooses to be all about tomorrow.
So how about a bold line-up of cutting-edge contemporary works by phenomenal female theatre makers from across the Peninsula that reflect the character, spirit and identity of the Mother City?
How about the most amazing roll call of male choreographers taking the lead in our most provocative and compelling dance programme to date?
How about boys from across the country dancing and doing it well? How about a programme of local and international stand-up that consciously, wilfully and almost dangerously sets out to prove that comedy is the ultimate form of free speech?
And how about all live art forms for all – irrespective of age, religion, political persuasion or sexual disposition?
How about that?
Well, okay then. Enjoy!