Mark and Jill’s South Africa trip 2015

Our Artistic Director Mark Babych and Director of Engagement and Learning Jill Adamson embarked on the trip of a lifetime this summer – to South Africa to meet and learn from local theatre makers. Majority funded by The Swallows Partnership, they were part of a group from the North East of England being sent as ambassadors to investigate partnerships with cultural organisations in South Africa. Mark blogged here about who they met, what they learnt and the ideas it inspired. Plus, check out the image galleries with each post.

Mark and Jill's South Africa trip 2015

02-Jul-2015 | Mark Babych - Mark and Jill’s South Africa trip 2015

Few places are more synonymous with the idea of freedom than South Africa. Performance has been shaped by apartheid as much as any other area of society, but it’s now breaking away from the past and looking towards the future. Young theatre makers born since the end of apartheid are the first generation of artists who are truly free, both socially and artistically. It’s an exciting time for Hull Truck Theatre to meet them to talk about long lasting relationships and cultural exchange in the lead up to Hull 2017 and particularly to research cultural resonances for the Freedom Season (July – September 2017).


Exploring the culture of Johannesburg

03-Jul-2015 | Mark Babych - Mark and Jill’s South Africa trip 2015

It’s the end of day three here on our trip to South Africa. Tonight is our last night in Jo'burg before we fly down to Port Elizabeth and then onto the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown where some of the best work happening in South Africa today is showcased.


Meeting with artists and culture leaders in Port Elizabeth

06-Jul-2015 | Mark Babych - Mark and Jill’s South Africa trip 2015

Leaving behind the bustling city of Jo'burg we flew south to the Eastern Cape and on to the city of Port Elizabeth in the metropolitan area of Nelson Mandela Bay. The historical watering place of the British Empire on the way to the Indies, Port Elizabeth has a distinctly different social and political environment. The City is small. In contrast to the growing spread of Jo'burg and its ability to attract ever growing numbers of skilled workers, PE has been bleeding talent. PE is a city on the edge of the cape, on the edge of South Africa, and in some senses it feels like the forgotten city. The central business district is very small - one street precisely, and a major road with a flyover cuts the city off from the huge docks that is a major area for potential development. I take a look at this huge road and how it severs the city from an important part of its identity and it all feels very familiar.


Final days and reflections before heading home

14-Jul-2015 | Mark Babych - Mark and Jill’s South Africa trip 2015

It’s our last day in South Africa after 16 days of absorbing, inspiring and often moving encounters with people, places and latterly performances.


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