In a blog posting on the Taipei Arts festival website, the artistic director Tang Fu Kuen, reflects on the function of art and the future of theatre, departing from a photo of a family of four outside a mosque in Taipei. Fu Kuen traces the story of a woman in the picture to making a statement about his theme for this year’s festival:
“We should bear in mind that empathy and respect for the feelings of others are related to the survival of mankind. We must not leave behind others in order to pursue progress, or out of fear, ignorance, and criticism. As a foreigner living in Taipei and a curator, I think that I can come here with blessings. This is because it is a society that is willing to explore, embrace, invest in art and democracy. ‘Gathering’ is my theme. It will focus on the artistic citizenship of Taipei citizens. This is undoubtedly a major focus of the 20th Taipei Arts Festival.”
With a performance and “critical thinking” programme from across Asia and Europe as the main context at the Taipei Arts festival, a smaller aspect of the festival exemplifies Fu Kuen’s “gathering”. Bringing together younger professionals from various parts of Asia and Europe, the Taipei Seminar is an intensive 12 day and night programme, this year including the participation of Zimbabwean Teddy Mangawa, with the support of the Pro Helvetia Johannesburg office.
Teddy Mangawa is the current Chairman of the Zimbabwe Theatre Association, and a graduate of Dell`Arte International School of Physical Theatre, CA USA. Having begun his career with the Mabvuku Cultural Drama club, a community based theatre Group in 2007, Teddy extended his work from community theatre to mainstream theatre, film and television acting. Teddy is currently working with Savanna Trust, Harare, where he has established himself as a performing artist, a theatre for development practitioner, a drama facilitator and a human rights activist. He was awarded the Best Actor’s Award by the National Arts Merit Awards in 2010 and 2013 NAMA Nominee.
The Taipei Seminar is supported through Pro Helvetia’s Liaison Offices and Zurich head office.