UMass: South Africa: Grahamstown Arts and Culture Festival (Summer)
Grahamstown, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa (Outgoing Program)
Applications and Program Information for 2016 Coming Soon! Please visit the course website at http://theatreinafrica.weebly.com/ for full details, videos, itinerary and FAQs from 2015.
TH494/698: Arts & Culture in South Africa: The Grahamstown Festival Course. 6 credits, Integrative Experience course for Theater majors.
Offered for undergraduate and graduate credit.
Contact Professor Megan Lewis, email@example.com, for more information.
In this faculty-led custom course, the performing arts will offer us a lens through which to examine questions of social justice, race, class and gender politics, history, language, memory, and the role of the arts in our global world. Focused around the National Arts Festival that takes place over ten days in Grahamstown, South Africa, students will experience the second largest theatre festival in the world (outside Edinburgh in Scotland) and the largest in the southern hemisphere. Join Prof. Megan Lewis, South African theatre and performance studies scholar, and dramaturg, Paul Adolphsen, to see new plays and cutting edge international performances that we would not be able to encounter anywhere else. We will meet playwrights, actors, artists and other students interested in performance and theatre and engage with, and reflect upon, the historic, sociopolitical, and creative contexts of the work we see.
The course is structured in three parts: the first will involve preparatory reading and assignments in the US before we leave, the second will be the actual experience of the festival in South Africa, and the third is a post-festival reflective essay.
PART ONE: Online Moodle course
During the preparatory period, students will enroll in an online Moodle course and will read preparatory materials, essays and plays. Students will submit a 5-page essay that synthesizes the preparatory readings, plays, and films through a focus idea of the student’s choosing.
PART TWO: The Grahamstown Festival Experience
Once in Grahamstown, students attend about 15 theatre productions as a group, engage in post-show discussions, meet with artists, and attend lectures by Prof Lewis and selected guests. Students are also encouraged to follow their own interests and see shows on their own. A minimum of 10 additional performances are required, although students often see many more. During the festival, students will blog about their experiences and respond to direct prompts in short response papers.
PART THREE: Final Reflection Paper
Students will submit a final reflection paper (with visuals if desired) that synthesizes their experience in the course, from preparatory work to on the ground experience in South Africa.
The travel portion of the course will start in Johannesburg and Pretoria with visits to museums and monuments to establish a cultural map for the rest of the trip. Then the group will spend 10 days in Grahamstown, experiencing the festival firsthand while residing in the Rhodes University dormitories. Please visit the course website at http://theatreinafrica.weebly.com/ for full details, videos, itinerary and FAQs.