‘This launch signifies the start of new experiences for the selected pupils, that we believe will stand them in good stead throughout their lives,’ Paine said.

TSOGO Sun has launched an arts academy at 12 schools in Gauteng.

The academy has a carefully designed full-year curriculum that uses the arts to provide opportunities for change in the lives of young people.

The launch of the academy took place during the International Day of Theatre for Children, which was celebrated on Wednesday.

According to Shanda Paine, Tsogo Sun’s group corporate social investment manager, the SunCares Arts Academy aims to make a real difference in pupils’ lives, by developing artistic talent, providing life skills development and supporting the educational framework via extra- curricular activities.
It also aims to provide tertiary opportunities to pupils within the programmes.

“This launch signifies the start of a new dimension of experiences for the selected pupils, experiences that we believe will stand them in good stead throughout their lives,” she said.

The academy is currently running six schools in Diepsloot near Montecasino and six schools in Mayfair near Gold Reef City, with 480 pupils in total, 40 from each school.

The pupils, who have been through a rigorous selection process to ensure that they have the potential and the dedication to do well in the arts programme, come from grades four to seven in nine primary schools, and from grades eight and nine in three high schools.

Support for the programme comes from Gold Reef City for the Mayfair schools and from Montecasino for the Diepsloot schools.

Paine said the SunCares Arts Academy programme was closely aligned with a key government priority to re-introduce extra-curricular activity back into schools.

“Tsogo Sun has worked closely with the Gauteng Department of Education in identifying schools and developing the programme and curriculum,” she added.

In order to create more opportunities for these pupils, Tsogo Sun has commissioned Minimax Performing Arts – which has been providing young South Africans with a platform to express themselves through the performing arts for more than 12 years – to develop and run the programme in the schools.

The programme includes two sessions a week at each school, run by two facilitators.

It provides a foundation in the basics of drama, dance, vocal training, and voice projection, with a structured life skills course that covers a broad spectrum of topics to empower youngsters to make sound life choices.

At the end of each year, the programme will culminate in a performing arts extravaganza where the children will present their own productions within their communities.

These productions will be adjudicated and the outcome will be used to measure the success of the programme.

Source: The Citizen – Avashnee Moodley