Jennifer Ferguson’s song for healing comes to the Baxter for 4 performances only in April

The Baxter Theatre Centre, in partnership with Peace of Music and The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, have great pleasure in welcoming Jennifer Ferguson and Company back to the Baxter stage after a long absence.

Following on the heels of her opening performance at The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative’s (FATC) My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival (MBMS), singer-songwriter Jennifer Ferguson is heading to Cape Town to perform a series of four emotive concerts called JENNIFER #wetoo, at the Baxter Concert Hall, from 4 to 7 April, at 8pm.

Sparked by the #metoo viral campaign, which took social media by storm in 2017 and saw numerous women across the globe speak out with claims of sexual harassment and assault, Ferguson’s concerts are a creative response to the recent disclosure of her rape. “I want to go beyond the personal #metoo to a universal #wetoo,” she says. “JENNIFER could be you or me. My story is just one of tens of thousands. We need to look at other ways of dealing with the culture of sexual violence and admit the current judicial system is failing too many of us. Restorative, even narrative justice offers something different as a path to healing the individual and the community. As an artist, I can stand in my truth and own my story on the stage without compromise. Music has traditionally been used to heal personal and collective trauma. Creativity is a powerful response to atrocities. I hope that this sharing of song and stories, will empower us to speak our truth, to restore societal balance and to heal.’’

JENNIFER #wetoo will feature special guest artists Zolani Mahola and Tina Schouw, both who have been activists in their own rights. Some of Cape Town’s best musicians will play with Jennifer including Mark Franzman, Ronan Skillen and Shaun Jacobs, plus a very special appearance by the Cape Town Youth Choir’s Vocal Ensemble. Renowned choral conductor and co-script-writer of the Swedish Academy-award nominated film As it is in Heaven, Anders Nyberg, will share the musical direction.

The concerts will feature the joyful and the introspective, but will mostly be an articulated celebration of the human spirit. “It’s a song-communion of a kind for all of us who have been hurt, somewhere, sometime. Men and women. So hopefully we can rise again with a matured vision of a more courageous and authentic life. After the storm we rise and sing again… Together,” says Ferguson.

JENNIFER #wetoo is made even more poignant by the fact that Ferguson is performing with her family, who are all just as talented. Her husband, Anders, is musical director, composer and conductor while their children – son Gabriel Nyberg and daughter Johanna Nyberg – will perform alongside her on stage. Gabriel is a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer in his own right and Johanna, who has Down Syndrome, loves being on stage and will solo in a moving ballad, My Temple, My Home, a song composed with Cape Town activist musician Su Lubner to campaign against child abuse.

The JENNIFER #wetoo concerts are hopefully the beginning of a future project in partnership with FATC. “We, like everyone in South Africa, want a country where sexual violence is no longer the norm and where survivors of sexual crimes are empowered to speak out, are met with care and respect and a form of justice that heals not only themselves, but the community as a whole,” says Ferguson. “We want to work in close consultation with and support various organisations which have for many years been doing really hard, remarkable work in the field of sexual violence. We hope to open spaces for conversations around the difficult aspects of our inter-relationships, and men need to be part of this as well.”

Ferguson has been known for her insightful and uncompromising spirit which has consistently reflected in her activism and her music throughout the decades. Her award-winning recordings defined many of the complexities of the 80’s with anthemic songs around military conscription, the white suburban malaise and the rich textures of South Africa’s narratives of the struggle for freedom.

In the 90s she worked in parliament under Nelson Mandela’s presidency. During a tour of Sweden as an MP and artist in 1993, she met Anders Nyberg, her husband of 21 years. He had worked internationally in solidarity with the Liberation Struggle and even in the Cape townships as a choral researcher during the 80s. Their mutual passion for music, spirituality and social justice helped bring them together and continues to sustain them.

Jennifer’s first collaboration with FATC was in 2003, for its When Life Happens Festival, the first HIV/AIDS-focused festival of its kind in South Africa.

Ferguson decided to shift base to Sweden to accommodate the special needs of her daughter Johanna when she turned 10 years old. She lives a fairly reclusive life focusing on her music, choral workshops and concerts, sound healing and teaching. She also co-leads an integration choir. ‘‘Life in Sweden has given me the gift of another culture, a rare gift of original wilderness, a country where access to the land is enshrined constitutionally and some truly amazing music. I can work and walk in peace. But still there is nothing, ever, quite like home,” she says.

Tickets for the JENNIFER #wetoo concerts from 4 to 7 April are R195 with an Early Bird Special of R120 and only valid until 16 March and discounts for students and pensioners on presentation of valid identification. Booking is through Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online at www.webtickets.co.za or at selected Pick n Pay outlets.

For further media enquiries or interview requests please contact:

CAPE TOWN

Fahiem Stellenboom

Baxter Theatre Centre

fahiem.stellenboom

021 680 3971

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Poet Siphokazi Jonas will present her new production Around the Fire – Saturday, 25 July

Poet Siphokazi Jonas will present her new production, Around the Fire, on Saturday, 25 July, at The Warehouse, 12 Plantation Road in Wetton.

The UCT graduate, and former Queenstown local, holds a Masters degree in English literature, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and English.

This vital and voracious poet has been pushing the envelope in the work she has been producing over the past year, and has been featured in the Inzync Poetry Sessions, Expression Session Kuilsriver, Grounding Sessions and Artsemble.

Siphokazi has been an opening act for American poets Ezekiel Azonwu, Janette Ikz and Alysia Harris as well as UK Hip Hop artist S.O. She was recently crowned the first Home of Poetry slam champion at the Cape Town Ultimate Slam on 31 May 2015.

She is also the curator of Poetica, at the Open Book Festival, and recently featured in the February issue of Authors Magazine and the June issue of in-flight magazine, Mango Juice.

Siphokazi performed at Music Exchange 2014, to an audience including the likes of international heavyweights of the calibre of Mos Def, Trevor Jones, AKA, Estelle Kockot, RJ Benjamin, and Hotstix Mabuse, amongst others. Last August she was the guest artist at the Open Mic Jazz competition at GrandWest, along with Bev Scott Brown.

The young wordsmith has most recently worked with the Applauz Arts Initiative, at the Adam Small Festival. Collaboration is a defining feature of her work and has led her to sharing the stage with local legends Pops Mohammed, Dave Reynolds, Frank Paco and Amanda Tiffin. This approach has given birth to the upcoming production on the 25th of July.

“This is not just a poetry show”, the gifted academic admits, “it is a fusion of theatre, poetry and music, that create a unique experience.”

After conducting interviews with five Cape Town residents from different backgrounds, Siphokazi intends to bring their untold stories to the stage through poetry. “The script is brand new, as is the musical score,” she explains, “imagine a musical where the conversation is between poetry and music.” “I want to tell these stories because I believe that they are all our stories. Around the Fire is meant to remind us about the community formed when we sit together in front of a fireplace or around a camp or a braai fire and share our lives with those close to us.” This show is an invitation to “come out of the cold” and share in the warmth of a new community; the story we tell could be yours.”

Around the Fire, directed by Nolan Africa, with music composed by Sikhumbuzo Ndebele and features vocals and music by Zoë Modiga, Eden Myrrh Toohey, Fruit Vendor, Keanu Harker, Germaine Leonard and Liam Webb. Tickets cost R100.

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