It’s not unusual for the Pend Oreille Arts Council to bring in performers from far away places, but rarely do groups come from as far as Africa.
The Sibikwa Players, a South African ensemble group, is in Sandpoint for four days of performances and workshops.
The troupe was formed from The Sibikwa Community Theatre Project, created in 1988 to train township youth in theater arts to promote cultural literacy and provide job training. The group, based in Benoni, South Africa, now tours throughout South Africa, Europe and North America.
“The arts council always tries to bring in ethnically diverse groups,” said Ginny Robideaux, executive director.
It’s the best way for area residents - especially children - to learn about different cultures, she said. Art can be the common element that spans cultural gaps.
The group’s only public performance will be at 8 p.m. Friday at the Panida Theatre. Tickets are $10.50 for adults, $8.50 for arts council members, and $6.50 for those under 18.
The Sibikwa Players will perform “Kwela Bafana-Move Boys,” a musical revue that combines American music of the ‘50s and ‘60s and traditional African music. Besides music, the performances include drama and history.
“It’s lessons about apartheid,” said Robideaux.
The Sibikwa Players will stage free performances today and Friday for junior high and high school students from Sandpoint, Priest River and Clark Fork, Idaho.
Earlier this week, group members spoke to some of Sandpoint High School’s advanced students about South African history and the effects of apartheid.
A free dance workshop for all ages will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Dance Works Studio, 1101 Superior, in Sandpoint. Call the arts council at (208) 263-6139 for reservations.
Tickets for the Panida show are available at Eve’s Leaves, 326 N. First; the Lyman Gallery in the Old Power House, 120 E. Lake; and, depending upon availability, at the door.
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