Empatheatre wins Bertha Artivist Award

Rhodes>ELRC>Latest News

Bertha Artivist Award, January 2022
Bertha Artivist Award, January 2022

Empatheatre wins Bertha Activist Award 

South African based research-based theatre company, Empatheatre, has been announced as a Bertha Artivist award winner for January 2022. Founded in 2009, the Bertha Foundation brings together storytellers, lawyers and activists in working towards social and economic justice. 

The Empatheatre project that has won this recognition, the Amagagasi/Tides project, is a collaboration with the Mbazwana Arts Centre in Northern Zululand. This submission explores new ways of engaging in public dialogue around spatial planning of rural areas within conservation and mining concessions, so that decision making processes foreground traditional knowledge, contemporary social dynamics and cultural phenomena. “The Amagagasi project will work to create a powerful piece of interactive street-theatre in which audience members participate in a ‘call and response’ storytelling process that re-maps (in vernacular isiZulu) the land/and coastline, creating an “alternate archive” that re-tells the story of the region from local people’s perspective, and then explores, alongside the public, the potential of devising  a new map of the region.”

The Empathatre projects are influenced and draw support from the Rhodes University's ELRC T-Learning Research Network. Other ground-breaking social justice theatre projects developed by Empatheater include:

  • Soil & Ash, a project focusing on rural communities facing pressure from coal-mining companies
  • Ulwembu, looking at street-level Drug addiction and harm reduction advocacy
  • The Last Country, which are stories of female migration
  • Boxes, exploring homelessness and urban land justice inequalities in the city of Cape Town
  • Lalela ulwandle, which is an international project supporting sustainable transformative governance of our oceans  

Website: https://www.empatheatre.com/ 
Social Media: https://linktr.ee/empatheatre
Bertha Foundation: https://berthafoundation.org/story/artivism-awards-2022-january-cohort/