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Fundraising priorities
Home > Donating to UCT > Fundraising priorities > Cultivating artistic excellence

Cultivating artistic excellence

Our tradition of artistic and cultural development is well expressed through the projects in this cluster. They explore historical roots of traditional oeuvres, while also creating new work and evolving genres. In traversing physical boundaries, the arts at UCT help foster a strong creative economy and a greater emotional quotient in society.

African Music

(Fundraising needs: scholarships and capital)

Creative projects that facilitate the expansion of interaction amongst musicians and performers who live and work in rural contexts, with their counterparts in urban contexts, are very much at the forefront of UCT's concerns in the field of African music. Towards this goal, the African Music division of the South African College of Music has founded a flagship performance ensemble, known as the UCT Ibuyambo Orchestra. The Orchestra is a collective of collaborating individuals who are exploring ways to combine older, traditional approaches to music-making with more cross-culturally inspired contemporary conceptions. Musical performances do not only draw together the old and the new through the amalgamation of 'traditional' and 'contemporary' pan-African instrumental forces, but also by engaging musicians in creation-processes in which education and documentation are translated into performance, and performance showcases the documentation projects that it articulates as a vehicle for education. Through its range of activities, that includes innovative performance ventures, interactive outreach programmes, and the development and circulation of archival and educational materials, the UCT Ibuyambo Orchestra intends to benefit individual musicians, institutions, archives and larger educational projects.

Baxter Theatre Centre

(Fundraising needs: endowment, operational costs and events)

The University of Cape Town Baxter Theatre Centre caters for diverse audiences by presenting an artistic programme which includes a range of music, dance and theatre productions. In addition, community development projects, arts festivals and workshops seek to educate and develop artists and provide them with a platform to present their work. The Baxter further promotes access to the theatre by providing transport for approximately 3000 patrons and keeping rental costs as low as possible to accommodate small production companies, burgeoning artists and community organisations that cannot afford expensive rental rates. In this way the Centre addresses many of the historical inequalities that still persist in the performing arts, due to economic disadvantages. The Zabalaza Theatre Festival provides community theatre groups from Cape Town with theatre training and a 3-week festival platform to exhibit their work, as well professional audition opportunities, mini-festivals in target communities and full length showcases of their work. Programmes such as these rely on donor funding to achieve its outcomes and benefit communities that have lacked exposure to the performing arts.

Ernest Cole Photography Award

(Fundraising needs: events)

The Ernest Cole Photography Award has been established to stimulate in-depth photography in South Africa, with an emphasis on creative responses to South African society, human rights and justice. It is open to anyone whose work looks at South African society, with preference being given to people living within the country. The purpose of the Award is to support the realisation of a significant body of work with which the photographer has been engaged. The inaugural award was launched in 2011 with the Dale Yudelman's Life Under Democracy project. Other winners that followed were Ilan Godfrey, Legacy of the Mine (2012) and Graeme Williams' project on the changing city of Johannesburg, A City Refracted (2013) which is still in the process of completion. The award is managed at the UCT Libraries who provide institutional support for the project, and was conceived by David Goldblatt and Paul Weinberg. It was created to address the need to support creative photography that explores social issues in our country that will contribute to a deepening of a human rights culture and to enrich a vibrant civil society.

Irma Stern Gallery

(Fundraising Needs: Capital Costs)

For over forty years, UCT has housed the Irma Stern art collection at the museum on Cecil Road, Lower Campus. Irma Stern, one of South Africa?s most highly regarded fine artists, made this place her home until she died in 1966. UCT is responsible for the maintenance of the museum. The layout of the museum belies the value of the work in it, particularly the magnificent African artefacts collected by Irma Stern over the years. Apart from restoration work on parts of the building that have deteriorated with time, the plan is to create a new entrance for visitors that would highlight the spectacular splendour of the museum. An upgraded reception area would also be able to accommodate a bookshop and museum coffee shop. The improved environment will add greatly to the experience of the house and increase venue hire possibilities, a great potential source of additional income.

The Little Theatre

(Fundraising needs: operational costs)

Since 1931 the Little Theatre has maintained its reputation as one of the most well-loved and recognised cultural destinations in Cape Town, capturing the hearts and minds of audiences across generations of South Africa's colourful history. It is a key teaching facility within the University, serving mainly the Drama Department. It has also been an important part of the life of Cape Town, being used by community groups and both amateur and professional theatre companies. It is now time that the Little Theatre is positioned to take its rightful place in the future of performing arts, through a renovation and development campaign. As such, we have commenced with plans to restore this epic and historic space. The planned renovation will give rise to innovative new facilities that allow the theatre to be converted into multiple configurations, and will also expand into workshop spaces for costumes and sets, as well as more social space for students and patrons.

Opera School

(Fundraising needs: scholarships, endowment and events)

Our Opera School has created a highly acclaimed presence on the international opera stage through its intensive work of training locally talented singers. The School prides itself on discovering vocal talent amidst impoverished communities that are rich in musical culture, turning the fragile dreams of young singers into real opportunities. While UCT aims to support every qualifying student in need of financial assistance, the vast number of candidates outweighs our support capacity. The opera programme at UCT is extremely rigorous and one of the most expensive courses of study due to the need for students to appear in professional productions and receive individual voice coaching as part of their training. This is why the UCT Opera School is grateful for the generous support it has received from donors, both nationally and abroad. Among these donors is the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation who have sustained much of the School's work with medium term grants over the past twelve years. As our funding partnership with the Mellon Foundation reaches a close, the Foundation has offered a closing grant to the value of $ 500 000 / ZAR 5 000 000 with a condition that UCT raises matching funds. All funds raised between December 2014 and December 2017 will be counted towards the matching grant challenge.

Performing and Creative Arts

(Fundraising Needs: Endowment)

As a premiere training institute for performing and creative artists, UCT has attracted and nurtured some of the best talent seen on local and international stages. From opera stars to fine arts practitioners, dancers to film and theatre industry professionals, UCT graduates are famed for challenging convention and pushing the boundaries within their chosen fields. In this way they have made meaningful contributions to the arts in South Africa and beyond. As is true of all performing and creative arts disciplines, specialised training and mentorship are expensive undertakings. Given that our students can only perfect their crafts within the context of practical production, stage performance, and individual coaching, the costs of maintaining these study programmes often exceed the general operating budget. It is only through the assistance of donors that we are able to offer bursaries to talented students and mount productions to assess and showcase their work.