Grant to Bring South African Theater Group to UB for "The Living Room Project"

By Arthur Page

Release Date: April 17, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Center for the Arts at the University at Buffalo has received the largest grant in its history for a project that will bring a South African theater group to the center for a month this fall, with performances scheduled not only in the CFA, but in homes and businesses in the community.

"The Living Room Project," which will involve the Eager Artists theatre group from Durban, South Africa, is being funded by a $100,000 grant awarded by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

Community organizations that were partners in the proposal are the Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County, Ujima Theatre Company, Langston Hughes Center, African American Center for the Arts, World of Life Community Church, Juneteenth Festival and the Paul Robeson Theatre. The UB Office of Public Service and Urban Affairs also was involved in the proposal.

The CFA's proposal was one of four out of nine submitted that received funding under the association's Arts Partners Program. It was one of only two to receive maximum funding.

The Arts Partners Program receives funding support from the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

"This represents the most significant monetary support the CFA has received since opening the doors of this marvelous facility in 1994," said CFA Director Thomas Burrows.

"It reflects a significant acceleration of continuing progress in pursuit of our full potential as a living laboratory for our students and a vital cultural resource for the large community."

Funding of "The Living Room Project," he added, "allows us to fully address the heart of our mandate, including the enhancement and enrichment of students' education, community outreach and audience development. The shaping and refinement of our concept during the planning period could not have been achieved without the generosity and wisdom of our partners. Buffalo is a great performing arts community."

Charles L. Stinger, interim dean of UB's College of Arts and Sciences, praised the CFA staff, noting that the project and major award "Significantly enhances a long-term goal of the Center for the Arts to build relationships with the greater Buffalo community.

"This outreach project," he added, "promises exciting opportunities for deepening our appreciation of the work of performing artists."

"The Living Room Project," which will take place from Sept. 10 through Oct 7, will center on social engagements in homes and businesses of community hosts in Buffalo. These engagements will revolve around shared meals followed by theater, dance and music performances.

The project will provide an intimate audience experience, as well as opportunities for guests to discuss the work presented with the performers. The strongest concentration of the project's engagements will be in Buffalo's African-American community. Performances and other residency activities will be offered at the CFA for project hosts and their guests, as well as the general public.

The Eager Artist theater group provides authentic performances, classes and workshops in South African music, dance and theater. The company was founded by director/playwright Jerry Pooe in 1995.

For more information about "The Living Room Project" and Eager Artists, visit the CFA's Web site at