Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Page 20
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 24
Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
Page 33
Page 34
Page 35
Page 36
Page 37
Page 38
Page 39
Page 40
Page 41
Page 42
Page 43
Page 44
Page 45
Page 46
Page 47
Page 48
Page 49
Page 50
Page 51
Page 52
Page 53
Page 54
Page 55
Page 56
Page 57
Page 58
Page 59
Page 60
Page 61
Page 62
Page 63
Page 64
12 Brilliant plays such as The Laramie Project Moises Kaufman Red Noses Peter Barnes A Midsummer Nights Dream Shakespeare to name a few. An alternative was to stage a season of small cast works thus still offering a large number of students an opportunity to perform. Music theatre productions such as Chicago West Side Story Cabaret and the groundbreaking staging of Orffs Carmina Burana are talked about to this day. The Choir was always doing great work but we added to the choral experience by staging one big work annually with an orchestra thus adding a new dimension for the students and contributing to the citys music landscape. Once again we were always on the search for new and interesting works. In this process we brought the internationally celebrated composers Richard Einhorn Voices of Light and Karl Jenkens The Armed Man A Mass for Peace and Stabat Mater to South Africa for performances of their works. Another aspect of our approach was to contribute to the industry and solve our often-urgent problem of finding suitable works by commissioning leading composers and creators for new works. This resulted in a number of new musicals and big works for both the Choir and small orchestra as well as amazing multi-disciplinary works such as Rocco de Villiers St Rocco and Ballade. Rocco was also responsible for creating and directing the wonderful production of Jozi Ma Sweetie a work that deserves to be performed again. The arts were blossoming. RAU was firmly on the Johannesburg arts calendar. But there was a huge obstacle. We had no theatre and we had to be very creative in finding performance spaces. This might have had the aura of adventure and creativity but it offered real problems. It would cost money to transfer Afslaans Hall or the Sport Centre into performance spaces. The Auditorium was terribly unsuited but we needed it to work for the musicals. And for our audiences there was the double whammy of finding parking and finding the venue. The dream of a theatre on campus was not a new one but the burgeoning arts programme certainly gave it new impetus. When we had no option but to stage a number of productions at the Wits Theatre this certainly brought the message home and in 2003 the Universitys management took the bold decision to go ahead with the theatre project. From the beginning we were involved in the project working closely with the architects. We were adamant that it should not only be a theatre but an arts centre with a dedicated gallery offices and rehearsal spaces. 2004 became a hugely exciting year but also brought its quota of anxiety. We had a deadline. RAU would become UJ in 2005 and the UJ Arts Centre was scheduled to open in 2005. And then the miracle happened. On the 5th of October 2005 the UJ Arts Centre was opened with a performance of Niel van der Watts Missa de Meridiana Terra a work specially commissioned for the occasion. Thematically and visually it was linked to the UJ Art Gallerys opening exhibition by Strijdom van der Merwe titled Messages from the Southern Earth. That night the UJ Choir and UJ Dance Company boldly set out for the future of UJ Arts Culture to dare to dream to be innovative to be inclusive not to be afraid to tread where angels tread lightly. We had a home. The new University of Johannesburg had a face for the public. I dare to believe we had fulfilled our brief. Opposite top UJ Can You Dance captivating audiences Opposite bottom UJ Gallery Photos Jan Potgieter