(Published - 21 November 2018)
Awareness around precious water resources has been heightened in the Western Cape due to the drought - most notably in the Mother City of Cape Town.
This year’s annual Net vir Pret Puppet Parade and Performance in the quirky Klein Karoo town of Barrydale, celebrates and reclaims the power, mythologies and awareness of the local Klein Huis Rivier that runs through the Tradouw Valley. The river holds great significance to the people and animals of this scenic, fertile part of the Langeberg.
In addition, the parade raises the plight of the endangered Redfin Minnow, a unique fish that is only found in the Barrydale region. Professor Jane Taylor, the Andrew W Mellon Chair of Aesthetic Theory and Material Performance at UWC’s Centre for Humanities Research (CHR), said: “It is well known how wasteful and irrational planning and economic practices of the apartheid state had a profound impact on the communities compelled to live in divided racially-defined spaces. What is increasingly evident is the environmental impact of these policies.”
Raising awareness about the way water has been used and abused in dividing and separating the community (and people) itself, this production asks us to reconsider our own relationships to water, to come together to save the Redfin Minnow and to celebrate the streams and rivers that connect us all.
The parade is hosted in partnership with the Laboratory of Kinetic Objects (LoKO) - led by Professor Jane Taylor of the CHR – and takes place on Sunday, 16 December at 6pm. This landmark public performance event forms part of the Barrydale Arts Meander (BAM) and is organised by the award-winning Magpie Arts Collective.
On offer is a feast of creativity in which all the galleries and artists in this highly creative town on the R62, will open their doors to the public throughout the weekend.
Every year the parade itself draws local and international puppeteers, musicians and performers who work with local youth to celebrate and explore powerful, relevant issues of community, conservation, ecology and culture through the art of puppetry.
The team of puppeteers from uKwanda Design and Puppetry Collective in Cape Town, who made the finely crafted life-size rhinos of 2017, will be creating new giant puppets for this free live event. The new puppets will be performed amongst hundreds of creations by local puppeteers Clarisa Jonas and Herman Witbooi, as well as by local school learners through the creative programmes of Net Vir Pret. The musical performance, created through a year-long process of workshops with international musicians and theatre makers, will be directed by Cape Town puppetry artist and postdoctoral fellow, Aja Marneweck, who is based at the Laboratory of Kinetic Objects. Marneweck is being assisted by Sudonia Kouter and Martin Kintu. Original music has been composed by traditional Riel Dans leader and director of Net vir Pret, Peter Takelo, hip-hop artist Selanvor Platjies and jazz musician Gari Crawford.
Watch the Olifantland documentary which details the 2016 Net vir Pret Puppet Parade and Performance