Strandfontein actress Stanfield and four other artists for UK tour

Strandfontein actress Stanfield and four other artists for UK tour

11 November 2009

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CHANTAL Stanfield has played the part of one of South Africa’s most recognizable villains, rich-witch Dalene Phillips, in one of SABC-TV’s most popular drama series, Montana.

She has also been a soapie star called Cecile in the ever-popular Sewende Laan, as well as a diva belting out tributes to South African female musicians such as Joy, Miriam Makeba, Laurika Rauch and Mango Groove.

Those who have kept a watchful eye on the progress of the 26-year-old from Strandfontein are convinced that she’s destined for great things.

And they are probably right.

Next week, Stanfield will start the next chapter in a career that has blossomed on several fronts when she joins four other Western Cape artists on a sponsored trip to one of the world’s premier cultural destinations. The visit has been dubbed the “Go See UK” tour – but it is much more than just a simple visit.

The consensus is that it could be a career-defining visit for each of the participants.

Stanfield, together with singer Sascha Egelhof, slam poet and hip hop artist Adrian Nomdee, filmmaker Tristram Atkins and dramatist Siv Ngesi were selected from approximately 120 young artists to participate in an organized development visit to the United Kingdom from 20-30 November 2009.

Stanfield knows exactly what she wants to get out of the visit.

“Just the fact that we are going over to a different country means that we will be exposed to different ways of doing things and interacting with audiences,” she says.

Obviously, my main objective will be to make connections in the industry from that side. I see the trip as an important stepping stone. There will be great opportunities to network with our British counterparts.

The upcoming tour has been described as an excellent example of how partnerships – in this instance, between the British Council and two Western Cape government departments, Economic Development and Tourism, and of Arts, Culture and Sport – can create mechanisms to identify talent and unlock opportunities.

The idea for the tour followed a Creative Artists at Work conference in Cape Town earlier this year.

‘’This is a fantastic opportunity for the five to develop relationships with creative organizations, businesses and professionals in the UK,” says Alan Winde, the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism.

“They will also be able to learn from one another and gain a more informed understanding of the requirements for a successful career in the creative industries.

“We are particularly excited that the trip will provide Western Cape artists who might want to tackle the London arts scene with information on how to do so.

“But most of all, we’re hopeful that the trip will spark new, innovative ideas to develop our own art scene right here,” Winde says.

Highlights of the tour will include:

  • An introduction to the Oval House Theatre; and
  • Visits to the Tate Modern, the Globe Theatre, the West End of London, the Pan Intercultural Organisation, the British Film Council, Pembridge Venture Capitalists, the British Arts Council and the Royal Academy of Music.

Stanfield and the others will also attend workshops and access mentorship opportunities relevant to their areas of expertise via a programme compiled by Stephanie O’Driscoll and Zephryn, two young UK facilitators who were part of the British Council’s Identity and Diversity (IDs) project that ran from 2006 to 2009.

O’Driscoll and Zephryn also facilitated the Creative Artists at Work Conference in Cape Town earlier this year which sought to identify emerging artists from the Western Cape, from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, aged between 18 and 34, and who were involved in (or were interested in) the development of commercial visual or performance art for export.

Stanfield won a place on the tour on the strength of a self-penned monologue called Banks, about the relationship between a married woman (with husband, child and car) and her bank “in these troubled economic times”.

“I wrote it because when I was looking for material – and here’s another of my ambitions, ‘I want to make people laugh’ – I couldn’t find anything that was funny,” she says.

“It didn’t take me long to decide to pen my own monologue.

Was it difficult? Of course it was. It’s a comedy – and comedies are really hard to write. But I decided to challenge myself – and I’m really glad that people liked it, and laughed.”

Jean September, the Director of British Council South Africa pointed out that facilitators from the IDs project had played an important role in the Creative Artists at Work conference.

“Sharing the real-life successes and challenges of their Social Action projects provided the participants with a practical perspective of what young artists experience in the real world and how they can overcome any obstacles to achieve their goals,” she said.

Upon their return from the UK, the five participants in “Go See UK” will run workshops and mentor peers, with the aim being to transfer the knowledge they gain from the trip to various communities of the Western Cape.

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