I met Caroline Calburn 10 years ago. She was a sensitive director for a rite of passage performance for my 11 year old son and myself. The performance was a fine work of art, delicately balanced with a strong consideration of age, separation, ritual and theatre.
It was the same quality – care as well as meticulous sensibility for the person involved and the work that needed to be done – that I found at TAAC where Caroline mastered another art: that of managing a ‘home’ for theatre performers.
To have a ‘home’ for one’s art is every performer’s dream. It is a place where one experiences structural containment, a psychologically hygienic atmosphere and a sincere interest in what you wish to create. It is not a commodity that performers regularly experience. Spaces to develop work in are expensive and not essentially performer-friendly.
I was fortunate to have been able to make TAAC my home. I knew that I had a place where I could explore dance theatre and where I could teach. The community of explorers is young and old, they come from varied backgrounds and deliver excellent, ground-breaking work that we will never see in our traditional theatres. Gradually TAAC has become a major theatre arts centre of inspiration for audiences and artists alike. There is no such a home in Cape Town (or South Africa) yet it is the foundation for any performer to survive artistically if not thrive internationally.
It would be imperative for young directors and performers that TAAC thrives. It fulfills a unique niche in the SA cultural world where new works and concern for theatre makers prevail. In a burgeoning democracy this is a new force, one with an extraordinary vision an implementation.