ubom

Profile

Since 2003 Ubom! has created and toured an average of five or six original full-length works every year. The company has worked to make these productions accessible to persons from all socio-economic backgrounds, taking theatre into far-flung communities, performing in any space (ranging from state of the art theatres to community halls, school courtyards, sports fields, animal enclosures and patches of grass) and charging little or nothing for its performances. Ongoing surveys and anecdotal evidence suggests that we have come a long way in achieving our goal of developing an appreciation of the power and joy of theatre.

The majority of our works have a strong developmental/educational focus. We have dealt with a range of social and environmental issues, ranging from issues of racism, xenophobia, HIV/AIDS, disappearing indigenous knowledge and gender violence, to the destruction of the polar icecaps and global warming. We have become extremely skilled at making works that tackle sensitive issues in a manner that is easily relatable and engaging. We believe that our level of experience in this regard as well as our heterogeneous backgrounds places us in a unique position to reach a spectrum of audiences within South Africa. We have personal access to a wide range of identity positions (Xhosa/Afrikaans/English; coloured/white/black; gay/straight; lower/middle income; traditional/urban; religious/non-religious), which sensitises us to difference and to the diverse concerns that come into play with any one issue. We understand local idioms, issues, performance traditions and cultural codes. We are acutely aware of the danger of trying to educate or develop (i.e. rescue/patronise) people. Rather, we have built up a repertoire of dramatic techniques that enable us to disarm audiences, shake them up, and communicate directly and effectively. We are experienced at crafting the dramatic rhythms that make audiences laugh, then make them feel, and finally make them reflect and communicate. While recorded responses suggest that the works have begun to affect attitudinal shifts, we hope that this has also translated into behavioural change.
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