Page to Stage is a cultural group from Protea South which grew out of a well-known non-profit (NPO) organisation called the Perfect Storm. When this organisation had its complications and the cadre within started pulling away, members who were passionate about art and were dedicated to pursuing their goals as artists were left disorganised and facing struggles because some festivals, funders or activations require a registered and complying NPO.
Kamohelo Mailula, a youth member of Page to Stage said that he believes that Lawrence Simelane, the co-founder of Page to Stage, saw an opportunity to redefine and restructure the organisation to help develop young artists and prepare them for the art industry.
“Page To Stage has been part of the Phepha campaign, a Road Safety Campaign, brought by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) and we play our role on the Phepha Activations as industrial Theatre and educating people and bringing awareness through entertainment,” said Mailula.
According to Mailula, most communities struggle with understanding the importance of road safety measures such as taking precautions but choosing to text and walk and that this obstructive behaviour can be distractive and can lead to accidents.
“These are some of the things communities do not pay enough attention to and these small things like a driver who is stubborn on the road, or perhaps a driver that doesn’t want to make regular stops during long road trips as they’re chasing time,” said Mailula.
The Phepha Campaign hosts activations in different communities, ranging from taxi ranks, malls, tertiary institutions, etc. Through this movement, community members are asked to sign a pledge and commit to the road safety rules.
But, as active as the group is, they have been facing some challenges on their path that holds back on the organisation’s growth and efficient operations. “One of the struggles that we have been facing is having to own a space in which we can facilitate our programs” said Mailula.
“There is potential in the growing of the organisation in order to be able to fulfil its mission and vision. Some activities are limited, due to the limited time we have at the community centre,” he said.
The organisation has also used networking as one of the ways to get a dialogue going around the struggles that they face, “especially after meeting with other organisations at the [Khanya College] Winter school, we were able to have access to other information and listen to other cadres’ struggles and how they have worked on resolving them. “We took motivation from Habitat 61 and discussed as Page to Stage how we can work on getting a piece of land,” Mailula continued.
The organisation had concluded with the idea of approaching the councillor with a proposal and seek for a confirmation letter.
The struggle for land and recreational facilities has made their organising a little difficult for them as some days they fail to get access to the facility and are forced to work outside. This impacts the work ethic of the group due to all the distractions outside. Mailula said they “sometimes don’t get to finish some activities”
“Getting land or having access to funds that can cover the annual rent, so we can have unlimited access to the space” Mailula said is the goal they have set to get over this struggle.
They have regular activities to keep their organisation active and growing. “We’ve been able to carry out our monthly Page to Stage Open sessions, devising new content and hosting shows and being a part of Phepha Activations in which we collaborate to Black Brain.”
Page to Stage also managed to do some collaborating with Kasipoetics Women in theatre, a 3-months program aimed at giving women the necessary skills for theatre making and teaching them about directing, script-writing, stage management – technical and acting.
The young women that were a part of the program took part in a competition meant to showcase what they have learnt and worked on and they were awarded prizes as well as certificates that will help further expand their profiles.
“The three moments of change have been the drive we need as an organisation. Through it we are able to hold ourselves accountable, push beyond limits and setting footprints on the culture we are building,” Mailula told Karibu!
Okuhle Matomane (20), a young female learner actress and performer from Page to Stage said, “Page to Stage has been my rescue, [if] truth be told. It’s been amazing, you know, learning about what you love and have passion [for] and not only that but to grow into bigger and better things.”
Matomane was in the program that was held by Kasipoetics Women in theatre and participated in the competition that came out of the program and won best director and 2nd best actress in the competition.
The story behind Matomane finding Page to Stage and its family started when she was referred to the organisation because she could not attend theatre classes at Busisiwe Mazibuko’s. “I spoke to Mr Lawrence Simelane and everything fell into place.” I found a family, Page to Stage helped me to think through my life and plan into building my talent,” said the 20-year-old actress.
Responding to a possible approach for the struggles that the organisation has been experiencing, Matomane said that they need lots of funding and a permanent space to own for rehearsals as they currently get chased out of the space during rehearsals. Matomane said, “We made it to a point that with the talent we have, [well] why not make money out of it because there are poets, script writers and actors and actresses so maybe we could sell shows and fund ourselves in terms of financial needs.”
She believes that personally she has grown into not only an upcoming actress but also a writer and director as well.
This article was submitted on 01 October 2022. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.