Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Wednesday, 04 October 2023 15:48

Season 10 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea.

By Jacob Mawela.

The Centre for the Less Good Idea celebrates seven years of collaborative, experimental and interdisciplinary work with the staging of Season 10 this 18 to 22 October.

Season 10 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea will be both a reflection on, and a celebration of, the journey that The Centre has taken since its inception in 2016. The Season will feature a combination of new performances, incubated at The Centre, and a revisiting of some of the approaches that have come to define its key processes, methodologies, and ways of working over the years.

These approaches include a newly devised collection of 11-minute Epics, the Public Procession No Man’s Land, and a revisiting of the Collapsed Concert.

A new version of William Kentridge's A Defence of the Less Good Idea, a performance lecture that is deliberately drowned-out and collapsed through the performance of other artists, will also feature in Season 10.

Speaking on the upcoming Season, Co-Founder and Director of The Centre, Bronwyn Lace, says, "It feels significant to be entering our 10th Season as we’ve reached a point where we can clearly recognise some of our accomplishments, while also acknowledging how The Centre continues to grow and establish deep collaborations with individual artists and with other organisations in South Africa, in Africa, and across the world."

Around 60 artists will form part of Season 10. The artists invited into this Season are those who have influenced The Centre deeply, but who have also been influenced by The Centre, co-developing the particular methodologies and strategies that have become seminal to The Centre’s growth as an organisation.

New works showing in Season 10

Newly incubated works planned for Season 10 include an evening of percussion composed and conducted by South African percussionist Tlale Makhene and Benin-born percussionist Angelo Moustapha, and two new programmes of Pepper's Ghost performances focussing on Activating the Archive, curated by Bongile Lecoge-Zulu and Bronwyn Lace.

Phala Ookeditse Phala and Tony Miyambo will also be debuting a new work, Eribuweni Ra Lwande | On the Shoreline, born out of a recurring dream full of fragments, while Sbusiso Shozi and Nhlanhla Mahlangu’s internationally renowned African Exodus returns to The Centre.

Further original works include new short-form theatre by Khayelihle Dom Gumede, and Gregory Maqoma, and Magnet Theatre’s Mark Fleishman and Jenny Reznek will work alongside Neo Muyanga and Marcus Neustetter in a new take on Antigone’s Ode to Man.

The Great Yes, The Great No

Central to Season 10 is a showing of the first iteration of William Kentridge's latest theatre work, The Great Yes, the Great No, a production by Kentridge, THE OFFICE performing arts + film, and developed at The Centre for the Less Good Idea.

As with The Great Yes, The Great No, The Centre has been significantly involved in many of Kentridge's recent, large-scale theatre and opera works, including The Head & The Load and Sibyl.

"As an organisation, we’ve grown many of our strategies and approaches out of the ways in which William naturally works collaboratively with large groupings of people from diverse disciplines," says Lace. "Similarly, the artists that William has met through The Centre – performers, choreographers and composers – have come to be vital parts of his work and his productions."

"My own work has been made immeasurably deeper and richer by the people that I've met and worked with through The Centre," says Kentridge.

Multimedia exhibition: Moments of Making

Running throughout the course of Season 10 is Moments of Making, a multimedia exhibition and installation that reflects on the playful, intangible, and often-times-vulnerable moments that emerge during the pursuit of the less good idea. The exhibition features a short process-based film, photography, text, and a sound installation, and is curated by The Centre's Director of Cinematography & Editor, Noah Cohen. 

"The film itself is made in the spirit of the less good idea so it’s fragmented, collaged, collaborative, and playful," explains Cohen. "The hope is that it helps audiences realise and experience what the creative process can look and feel like."

Season 10 will take place at The Centre for the Less Good Idea, Maboneng, downtown Johannesburg, from 18 to 22 October. Tickets available here: