Monthly Archives: March 2010

Response to Linda Bukhosini’s Press Release Regarding the Mayville Workshops

By: Steven Stead
Executive Director: KickstArt

Ms Bukhosini alleges that I (as an individual) “continuously refuses” to align myself with “reasonable business opportunities that are available to him and other arts practitioners who do business with The Playhouse Company”
Since this is the first time that I have publicly questioned her decisions or judgement, I cannot understand how my ‘recalcitrance’ is “continuous”. Unless she is referring to the opera programme, Bravissimo where she employed me as director and then insisted that I accept the production team that she had selected for me, against standard international theatre practise, leaving me no choice but to resign from the job. Or when I refused to allow her to censor a few topical political references from our family pantomime Aladdin, which she found offensive. Or most recently when she tried to remount my successful production of My Fair Lady without crediting me or consulting me, again in disregard of standard international theatre practise. In all these cases, I agree that reasonable business practise was flouted. But not by me. Could the fact that I am one of the only people in the city who stands up to her have ANYTHING to do with the bullying we continuously face?
The Playhouse does have a mandate from the Department of Arts and Culture to be supporting grass-roots artistic activity in the province. She doesn’t mention this in her press release.
If The Playhouse is “continuously committed to equitable distribution of available resources to address the varying artistic and cultural needs of our society and to maximize on possible income streams”, then why make an already unproductive workshop more redundant by denying access to the paying public?
I am not an individual in this case. I represent a company. My company employs dozens of actors and artisans every year, and serves a public of over 40 000. Her decision to make our work difficult doesn’t just affect me. It affects everyone who enjoys our work.
There are several businesses including a magician’s workshop, a rope factory and a martial arts studio run from the premises. Again, she fails to address this issue in her press release.
The amounts of money we have directly paid the Playhouse for hire and refurbishment Jan 2009-Jan 2010 are: Cinderella R22 0000, Little Shop of Horrors R19 837.50, Winnie the Pooh R19 340.39, Noises Off R33 845, and Peter Pan R20 105. TOTAL: R115 127.89. A remaining R60 000 was spent on workmen in the workshops for their labour, and for materials.
Where her figure of R36 812 comes from is curious.
She doesn’t address the fact that we have received top advice from a risk management consultant regarding indemnity, which is standard national working practise. Doubtless the various businesses currently renting space at Mayville have such documents in order, as does anyone hiring any of the theatres in the complex.
She also doesn’t address the fact that there is no skilled scenic artist or painter at Mayville, and that any production that has had any success, whether it is KickstArt’s, or The Playhouse’s My Fair Lady (2006) or Sound of Music (2007) has not only required Greg King’s expert design and ability to reuse old, unused stock pieces, but his hands on ability to paint backcloth’s and do all set dressing. Her recent production of My Fair Lady largely had to be built in Johannesburg because the workshops were not capable of producing the cloths required.
We believe that Ms Bukhosini’s actions are motivated by professional jealousy and personal spite, and we have nothing to lose in fighting this battle. We will continue to create art and entertain Durban, with or without her support.

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Being Replaced

Post by : Anne-Marie Clulow

Here is the gist without names. I have been playing a gig replacing someone who was sick. The venue was so happy with me they approached me privately to take over. I refused, saying I would play until the other performer was well enough to play again. Naledi time came around, and I was invited to present. This is a huge, although unpaid event, and the exposure is great. I informed the venue and asked them to contact the agent to find an act for the date I couldn’t be there. With a full weeks notice. They found an act and the act played the gig. the following week I am told by the venue that the agent is pushing for the other act to go in for a contracted month, but they said they’ll choose who they want at their venue. Today, after trying to find out all week what’s happening this weekend, I am informed that the act that replaced me is in this weekend, and I am not needed. On all occasions when I have been personally approached, even without a contract from the agent I have paid commission and said I will still go through the agency. Lovely loyalty huh? She has now booked the other act in.

I am so sick of being screwed over by people. The agent still gets comm, the venue still has an act and I have no work now because everyone else was quite happy to do what suited them.

I guess i should have insisted on a contract, but the last one I got from the agent had a date on where the venue had a benefit concert so I lost out on the money. Wasn’t unhappy to give it to a good cause, but the contract I received was also still not worth the paper it was written on.

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Creative Workers Union S.A.

THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF THE PERSON WHO SENT ME THE OVERVIEW OF THE CAPE TOWN MEETING. IT APPEARS THAT I WAS IN ERROR TO  MAKE IT PUBLIC AND FOR THAT I APOLOGISE.

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Equity SA ??

A Facebook group has been created to try and assess how many people employed in the entertainment industry in South Africa would be interested in joining an Equity UK type union. We believe that we must create an all encompassing union – actors, dancers, musicians, technicians, designers, circus artists, stunt people …….etc – rather than a specific union for each category. The more people we can bring in under one umbrella the more powerful we will become and apart form contracts, working conditions and so on we would, if the numbers are large enough, be able to investigate things like medical plans and pension funds.
This is more a market research exercise than anything else with no operational specifics and details applied. It would be interesting to get suggestions from all as to how you see it could operate. The one thing for sure is that it would take payment of a monthly or annual subscription so we would have to be serious about forming such a union and making sure that the benefits are real. Again the higher the numbers the lower we could keep that subscription.

Some of you will know that there has been some success in recent months in exposing some of the malpractices that are rife in the entertainment industry. We need to stop and prevent these things happening in a more proactive way and having a strong union is the only way to go.

Please click on this link and consider joining.—–>>> Equity SA

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