World cup fever! South Africa at center stage! Football madness! A mammoth International Arts Festival! Winter in South Africa. This is what greeted Rhodessa and Idris upon their arrival in South Africa. First stop the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. Departing San Francisco on June 23, 2010 Jones & Ackamoor begin the arduous air voyage of over 30 hours to Port Elizabeth airport to arrive at the southern most tip of the continent. What a sight when they arrived at the Port Elizabeth airport! There were troupes of colorful Zulu dancers and musicians playing for the deplaning passengers. Their Festival representative was promptly there and greeted them as they piled into the van for the hour and twenty minute trip to Grahamstown. Rhodessa and Idris quickly and effortlessly checked into a wonderful bed and breakfast provided by the festival and settled in.
On Sunday, June 27th Rhodessa and Idris moved into the Victoria Theater, a wonderful 300-seat venue. Cultural Odyssey’s production, “Big Butt Girls, Hard-Headed Women” was one of the featured performances in the festival’s main program. Rhodessa and Idris quickly conducted the necessary technical set up and rehearsals to prepare for a Monday, June 28th opening.
“Big Butt Girls, Hard-Headed Women” was performed for over 600 audience members who enthusiastically received the show. Once the show closed we were able to attend other productions featured at the festival through the use of complimentary tickets provided by the sponsor. The National Arts Festival is one of the premiere festivals in the world! Rhodessa and Idris could not believe the size of the festival! Not only did the festival present a main stage roster of productions, but equally as well an enormous fringe festival that had all matter of artists mounting and marketing their shows to large appreciative audiences.
Cultural Odyssey left Grahamstown for Johannesburg to begin a six-week residency leading to a major performance at the International Women’s Festival in Pretoria. The residency took place in the Johannesburg female prison popularly known as “Sun City”.
For the first time in South African history female inmates were taken from the prison under deputy guard to perform at the South African State Theater. This was unprecedented and an enormous success. In addition Jones and Ackamoor did an encore performance of “Big Butt Girls, Hard-Headed Women”.
In addition, Rhodessa and Idris also performed and lectured at the renowned Luthuli Museum (Chief Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli is a commemorated figure within South Africa’s liberation movement) near Durban.