Abbreviated Arts CV

Mike van Graan graduated from UCT with a BA Honours degree in Drama and a Higher Diploma in Education. He has served in leadership capacities in various cultural non-government organisations including Director of the Community Arts Project in Cape Town, National Projects Officer for the Congress of South African Writers in Johannesburg, Director of the Bartel Arts Trust (BAT) Centre in Durban, General Secretary of the National Arts Coalition and most recently as the General Secretary of the Performing Arts Network of South African (PANSA).

In June 1994, he was appointed as Special Adviser on Arts and Culture to the new Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. He held this position till he launched his own micro-enterprise, Article 27 Arts and Culture Consultants in January 1996. Article 27 takes its name from Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone shall have the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community and to enjoy the arts…”.

Article 27 has been contracted to provide a range of services in the arts and culture sector including policy research, event management and administration. Van Graan produced the first comprehensive directory on arts and culture in post-apartheid South Africa, The South African Handbook on Arts and Culture. He is also an award-winning columnist with his Cultural Weapon columns on the website having earned him the Arts and Culture Trust Arts and Culture Journalist of the Year prize in 2002. He wrote a monthly column on arts and culture - Artwit - in the Mail and Guardian till the end of 2005.

In 2005, he undertook research into the creative industries in the Western Cape for the Western Cape Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism, and also coordinated PANSA’s research project into the national theatre industry over the last eleven years.

As a playwright, Van Graan won the Fleur du Cap award for Best New Script for his trilogy, Dinner Talk, in 1998 (directed by Jay Pather) and in 2003, Green Man Flashing won the Jury Award for Best Script at the PANSA/UCT Drama School Festival of Reading of New Writing. It was nominated for Best Script in 2005 in both Gauteng's Naledi Theatre Awards and the Western Cape's Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.

Other works include Hostile Takeover, Jury runner-up at the PANSA Festival of Reading of New Writing 2004, Mixed Metaphors, Two to Tango and Some Mothers’ Sons, all products of the 2005 PANSA/NLDTF Festivals of Reading of New Writing. Mixed Metaphors - like Green Man Flashing in 2005 - has been nominated in the best new script categories (2006) in both the Naledi Theatre Awards and the Fleur du Cape Theatre Awards.

In 2006, Van Graan attracted five commissions from the Market Theatre and the Charles Diamond Foundation (Brothers in Blood); from the BBC World Service (a seven-minute radio play as part of marking the 50th anniversary of Ghanaian independence); from UCT's Drama School where he was the artist-in-residence (Mirror, Mirror); from the Aardklop National Arts Festival (Die Generaal/The General) and from the Suidooster Festival (the main sponsors of Bafana Republic). All of these commissioned works are scheduled to be produced in 2007/8. Since the beginning of 2006, Van Graan has worked primarily as a theatre writer, producer and marketer of his plays.

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