Theatremakers and dancers Take-a-STAND

Professional theatremakers and dancers were hard hit by the Covid pandemic which not only cost them income but a sense of community. The Take-a-STAND Dialogues aim to reinvigorate this community with a gathering based on the model of literary festivals. The Take-a-STAND panel discussions will feature a diversity of voices from the dance and theatre sector on various challenges and social issues in the performing arts.

The event is presented by the SU Woordfees and STAND (Sustaining Theatre and Dance) Foundation over the weekend of 19-21 February in Stellenbosch. The gathering is made possible by the generous support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and NATi.

Each panel discussion will run for 60 minutes and will include up to four panellists. The panels will be conversational and guided by facilitators. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Confirmed panellists include Ismail Mohamed (Director Centre for Creative Arts UKZN), Gregory Maqoma (dancer-choreographer), Mark Heywood (Editor: Daily Maverick Citizen Daily Maverick Citizen & Executive Director: Section 27) and Cornelia Faasen (CEO: NATi).

The book launch of Decolonisation as Democratisation: Global Insights into the South African Experience is also on the programme. The editor of the book, Siseko H. Kumalo, will be in attendance to talk about the project.

A wide variety of themes around the current state of the performing arts and prospects for the future will be discussed during the weekend. (See the the programme below.)

Acclaimend playwright and STAND Foundation board member Mike van Graan is excited about the Take-a-STAND Dialogues: “After a devastating year of Covid-19 restrictions and their impact on our sector, we’re delighted to have some sense of community, even on a small scale, through this event. The Dialogues also affirm our commitment to the vibrancy and sustainability of the dance and theatre sector by working in partnership with others.”

SU Woordfees festival director, Saartjie Botha, shares Van Graan’s enthusiasm: “The SU Woordfees is looking forward to receive industry leaders in Stellenbosch to talk about the performing arts in a mid- and post-Covid world. Now, more than ever, arts administrators, theatres, festival, companies and freelance artists need to take hands to consolidate our industry and to plan for the challenging times ahead.”

The Take-a-STAND Dialogues will take place at 44 Ryneveld – both the name and address of a newly renovated venue in Stellenbosch.

Each session will be ticketed and will accommodate up to 50 people, observing Covid-19 protocols. All sessions will be livestreamed, and the event is open to the general public.

Tickets for attendance at 44 Ryneveld will cost R60 per session, R150 for a whole day and R250 for the whole weekend. 

Livestream sessions will cost R20 per session and R150 for the whole weekend. International guests will pay $5 per session or $30 for the whole weekend.

For more information on the Take-a-STAND Dialogues, please contact Danie Marais:


[The full line-up of panellists will be announced as soon as all participants have been confirmed.]


18:30         Keynote: Theatre for whom? Dance for what? Towards a rationale for theatre and dance in our contemporary world

20:00         Welcome cocktails for speakers and other participants


09:30         Why we (still) make theatre: Producers/writers/directors speak

11:00          What about us? The hopes and dreams of industry ‘elders’

12:30          Decolonising theatre and dance. Does this even mean anything?

14:00          What do audiences want? And should we give it to them?

15:30          What teaching drama has taught us: Drama teachers share their insights

17:00          Don’t put your daughters or sons on the stage: Are we producing too many dancers and theatremakers for the South African market?

18:00          Book launch – Decolonisation as Democratisation, edited by Siseko H. Kumalo

19:30          Komedie: Showcase of participants in STAND Foundation’s Women Stand-Up Comics project


10:00         Our vision and hopes for the future: Young theatremakers speak

11:30          Should theatre and dance be funded by the state given the other challenges in our society?

13:00         What makes a dance or theatre aesthetic ‘African’? And, does it matter?

14:30         Comedy, satire or drama? Necessary escapism or cop-out?

16:00         Why we support and engage with South African arts: The views of international agencies

18:00         Closing cocktails

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