CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
Since 2007 Developing Artists has been forging links with a number of arts institutions across the archipelago of Cape Verde. Primary among these is the Raiz di Polon (Roots of the Cotton Tree) dance school founded by Mano Preto which trains children and young adults from a wide mix of social and economic backgrounds in the skills and discipline necessary to perform as professional dancers. They work in both traditional and contemporary styles. Meeting five nights a week for three hours each evening, dancers from 6 – 40 years old work together as equals producing vibrant and genuinely collaborative work.
As part of its commitment to running social and educational programmes alongside creative projects, Developing Artists introduced a new initiative whereby dance teachers from the Raiz di Polon school worked with young people at residential centres for abused and abandoned children run by The Capeverdean Institute of Children and Adolescents and its director in Mindelo, Jandir Olivera. ICCA was founded in 1982 to provide support and residential care for child victims of abandonment, family breakdown, sexual abuse and drug related problems. This project was facilitated by The Cultural Centre of Mindelo and its director Josina Freitas.
In September 2010 Developing Artists teamed up with a group of young creatives from the UK to co-produce the charity's first project in the country. This was conducted with the support of our partner institutions on the ground: Storymoja, Sarakasi, S.A.F.E., The British Council and TAPWAK.
Six volunteers from Durham University, together with a professional director from the USA, collaborated with a large group of Kenyan actors and artists to create a hybrid theatre project. A month-long workshopping and devising process, centring on the theme 'The Spirit of the Kenyan Nation' and focusing on key issues including HIV/AIDS, culminated in a performance on the 29th September at Nairobi's Sarakasi Dome. The production then headlined the Storymoja Hay Festival at the start of October. The team also conducted a series of educational workshops in and around Nairobi.
The team worked with actors, directors, producers, singers, storytellers, poets and painters. Joshua Buto, one Kenyan actor who took part, will be taking the devised production that came out of the workshops on a national tour before he comes to the UK to perform at the Hay Festival in July.
Without funding or a base level of disposable income among the population, there can be very little or no internal support to back creative initiatives in Kenya. Developing Artists hopes to bring a new project to the country in the near future.
This project, begun by Giles Ramsay in 2004, resulted in participation with a series of cultural festivals highlighting the depth and variety of Mexican artistic talent, encompassing music, dance, film and theatre. In 2005 the festival played at The Riverside Studios and Artsdepot in London and at The Roxy Art House and The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh where it was awarded a prestigious Fringe First.
2007 saw British director Cal McCrystal working alongside three of Mexico's leading clown actors Adriana Duch, Darina Robles and Adrian Vazquez. Together they created a new show Cállate! which played in Mexico City before transferring to The Assembly Rooms as part of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The production then toured to Zimbabwe where it was performed at HIFA 2008.
July 2007 also saw two Mexican actors, Emilio Savinni and Arturo Tovar being awarded Developing Artists Scholarships, along with Zimbabwean actor Blessing Hungwe, to take part in a professional production of Tales From Ovid which was presented at Dartmouth College in the USA as part of their Summer Arts Festival.
In 2008 and 2009 a number of Mexican writers presented their work at The Edinburgh Book Festival and some 20 Mexican students performed Shakespeare on the Edinburgh Fringe.
In 2010 the project culminated with the performance of the opera Montezuma at The Edinburgh International Festival. Through Developing Artists over 100 Mexican artists have had the chance of working on the international stage.
In 2011, and working in collaboration with The Botswana Society of the Arts, Botswanan Dance Company Mophato and UK based musicians Korasong Radio; Developing Artists helped facilitate a series of workshops in preparation for a new song/kora/dance/massed choir spectacular, Goalmouth, celebrating the arrival of the World Cup on African soil for the first time.