Discussion Document on Theatre and Dance

The Department of Arts and Culture is currently in the process of reviewing the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage of 1996, having undertaken various provincial consultations and climaxing with a two-day indaba in Gauteng on 26-27 November 2015.  AFAI has actively participated in this review process in a variety of ways including a lengthy written submission critiquing the draft policy tabled first in 2013, Cultural Policy Reading Group deliberations on the draft, attending the Western Cape workshop, providing information and critical perspectives to colleagues across the country through social media, hosting public discussions on cultural policy themes and helping to organize informed participation in the provincial and national forums.

In January 2015, the Department of Arts and Culture established a National Dance and Theatre Advisory Task Team with a mandate to produce a three-year vision and plan for these sectors.  However, despite numerous representations made by this Task Team to the DAC, they did not receive the expected funding from the Department that would have allowed them to meet.  By the end of October, the Task Team had still not had its first meeting.

AFAI’s Executive Director met theatre and dance colleagues informally in Johannesburg towards the end of October, and they agreed that these sectors need to engage actively with the White Paper process, and that – rather than wait for or expect a document to emerge from the DAC – these sectors needed to prepare a Discussion Document that outlined a vision and strategies to develop, sustain and celebrate South African dance and theatre.  The ED prepared this Discussion Document which has now been distributed widely within the theatre and dance communities, as well as to the Department of Arts and Culture’s point person who is driving the review of the White Paper. Read the Discussion Document here.

The draft White Paper of 2013 was set aside and a new document has emerged based on the provincial consultations.  AFAI has contributed to both in terms of critique, ideas and alternative vision.