Prolific playwright, director and internationally acclaimed musical theatre producer, Mbongeni Ngema, in partnership with the City of Johannesburg and the Soweto Writers Project, will be launching the Soweto Performing Arts Centre (SPAC) at a special media function to be held on Friday, 20 November at the Uncle Tom’s Community Centre in Orlando West, Soweto.
The main aim of the centre is to create an opportunity for young people from historically disadvantaged and under-resourced communities to be trained as professional actors, directors, playwrights, musicians and dancers. The centre, which will offer SAQA accredited courses, will also cater for film and television.
The project is a creative collaboration between Basil Dube and theatre icon Mbongeni Ngema, well known and respected for his internationally celebrated and award-winning productions such as Sarafina, Asinamali, Magic at 4am, Woza Albert and now recently, Lion of The East. Ngema has recently partnered with the KZN Provincial Government and launched the KZN Music House, a state of the art music recording facility where many young and talented artists and musicians will be nurtured.
According to Dube, one of the directors of the centre, SPAC will be established as a premier African institution of the performing arts, giving the youth immediate access to arts education, human resource development and a new and vibrant opportunity to trade their talents locally and internationally.
“I have been dreaming of opening a performing arts centre in Soweto to continue the heritage and legacy of Gibson Kente and Matsemela Manaka. When I met Mbongeni I knew that our collaboration would turn this dream into a possibility and ultimate success story. Ngema is not only a creative person, he is a versatile entrepreneur who understands the business of the industry and is a well respected legend having worked with international greats such as Quincy Jones, Whoopi Goldberg and Miriam Makeba,’ says Dube of his new business partner.
Dube and Ngema have signed a three year contract to establish the Soweto Performing Arts Centre and produce theatre and musical works under the Committed Artists label owned by Ngema. Plans are also underway to launch a branch of Committed Artists in Soweto in 2010.
“We will be exploring a number of collaborative productions with the multimillion Soweto Theatre Complex currently under construction in Soweto,’ Dube concluded.