P O Box 91331
Auckland Park 2006, South Africa
Tel : 0027 11 673 0035
Georgina Thomson trained as a professional dancer and worked in Europe and South Africa before becoming an arts administrator. She has worked nationally in various positions starting off as a Company Manager, Marketing Organizer/Manager, Project Management and Director.
She has also written extensively in the production of brochures, publicity and marketing planning and operation, media relationship and on-line marketing relating to the various projects she has managed.
Her work experience includes:
- Current: Dance Forum
From 2003 – the present: DIRECTOR: DANCE FORUM
The Dance Forum is a Section 21 Non-Profit Organization that was set up in 2003 to manage the producing of contemporary dance/performing arts project’s which includes the following:
a) DANCE UMBRELLA FESTIVAL
General management and artistic direction of the annual Dance Umbrella Festival. The Dance Umbrella festival has been the main platform in South Africa for new contemporary dance and choreography, and has developed an international reputation for the wide and diverse programme it presents.
The administration of the event includes:
Fund-raising, budgeting, proposal writing;
Programming and presentation ;
Creation and writing of the festival brochure, media releases and all media related requirements.
Accounting and keeping of budget up to date;
Commissioning of and co-producing of new work both local and international;
Overseeing the marketing and publicity co-ordination;
Appointment of ad hoc technical crew and office staff
General management of the annual festival;
Report-writing, final budgeting and presentation of the audits.
The Dance Umbrella programme includes commissioned new work from South African choreographers, local and international collaborations, a Fringe programme and Stepping Stones, a youth/community development section.
The Dance Umbrella has presented international artists such as Akram Khan (UK), Gilles Jobin (Switzerland), Emio Greco (Italy/Holland) and Salia Seydou (Burkina Faso)
b) YOUNG CHOREOGRAPHERS RESIDENCY
Dance Umbrella festival has included a Young Choreographers Residency Programme since 2013 in the Dance Space and has been funded by the National Arts Council and National Lottery and AFRICALIA. The Master Classes have been facilitated by local and international teachers such as Nigel Charnock and Germaine Acogny.
The programmes focus on developing young artists and showing them new ways to create dance works. All the choreographers who participate in the residency programme are invited/commissioned to present a piece on Dance Umbrella or New Dance.
c) DANCE EXCHANGE: a national dance development project that focuses on working with dancers and choreographers living in regions who do not have easy access to both training and sustainability. The project focuses on both dance technique, choreography and arts administration. There are a series of on-going workshops being facilitated nationally. Selected works outcomes of the process are presented at Dance Umbrella.
d) ARTS ADMINISTRATION TRAINING
Georgina has facilitated workshops in choreography and arts administration /publicity/marketing in collaboration with the Northern Free State District Municipality in Sasolburg and also run on-going workshops in Arts Administration at the Dance Space and facilitated Arts Administration workshops in Pretoria, Johannesburg and the East Rand.
For the Dance Umbrella, she employs at least four interns who work on the event as trainees in administration and production management and I work with up to 50 ad-hoc staff.
The Dance Forum has also developed long-term relationships with foreign consuls such as the French Institute of South Africa, Pro Helvetia: Swiss Arts Council, British Council, Netherlands Consul and the Goethe Institute. We also received funding from the EU fund to co-produce works created by dancers/artists.
Ms Thomson has also done the following in her tenure of Director of Dance Forum:
Producing of Danse l’Afrique Danse 2012
New Dance Festival
Joburg Arts Alive
Fundraising and creating partnerships both local and international
Publicity and marketing
Tour organization/ facilitation of programmes
Festival programming and organization
Writing free-lance for various arts magazines
2. Vita Promotions, P O Box 378, Auckland Park 2092
July 1995 – December 2002
Position: General Manager: Main responsibilities:
The management, co-ordination, administration and Artistic direction and publicity/marketing of the following:
a) FNB Vita Dance Umbrella Festival (Johannesburg)
FNB Vita Dance Umdudo Festival (Grahamstown)
FNB Vita Dance Indaba Festival (Cape Town)
FNB Vita Dance Shongololo (Durban)
These were a series of contemporary choreography & dance platforms. The portfolio included the commissioning of new works/artists and the programming of the festivals. This process ran continuously throughout the year and finally culminated in the FNB Dance Umbrella Festivals, which included local and overseas companies community based groups, workshops and classes.
In 1998, Ms Thomson accepted the appointment of Artistic Director for Johannesburg FNB Vita Dance Umbrella. She developed the festival to include residencies, workshops and create relationships with the Montpellier Dance Festival (France), British Council, Embassy of Finland, Netherlands Embassy and French Institute, and in so doing created a network for local dance to connect internationally.
b) FNB Vita Now Craft Now Awards and Exhibitions: held nationally
These exhibitions were held in collaboration with the National Crafts Council of South Africa and showcased the best of original craft making in this country. They were both regional and national exhibitions held annually and we co-ordinated the exhibitions in liaison with the Craft Council of South Africa. We did the publicity, marketing and writing of catalogues. Besides the annual Vita Craft Now exhibition at the Karoo Fees in Oudtshoorn, they also ran smaller regional exhibitions annually.
c) FNB Vita Regional and National Theatre Awards
A system of year round adjudication of professional theatre seasons ending with an awards presentation in all the main centres in South Africa. This required on-going liaison with producers, production houses and theatre management, countrywide. The awards-presentations were annually held in each major centre, which was produced in collaboration with FNB Vita Awards. Ms Thomson coordinated, publicized and marketed the event.
d) Market Theatre Laboratory Community Theatre Festival.
FNB Vita consistently supported the established and the developmental in all arts disciplines. This annual festival was staged in conjunction with Community Theatre Groups. Vita assisted with the planning and publicity of the events in liaison with the Market Theatre Lab.
e) FNB Vita Art Prize (Fine Art)
National award for contemporary art- making, modeled on the Turner Prize in the United Kingdom. Co-ordinated, publicized the event extensively and produced the catalogue for the exhibition. The exhibition was mounted in liaison with an appointed curator. Organized the annual awards function.
The above-mentioned projects were administered and managed by Vita Promotions, which was sponsored for both infrastructural and project costs by First National Bank (FNB). Vita Promotions had to apply for renewal of this sponsorship every three years, and were the only full-time arts administration organization, that received this financial support on a full-time basis in South Africa, until its closure in 2002. Ms Thomson was responsible for budgeting, fund-raising and presenting, planning, programming, co-ordination, marketing and publicity of all above-mentioned projects. She was General Manager of this from 1998 – 2003 until Vita closed.
This position created a relationship nationally with all sectors of the arts community in South Africa and beyond.
3.Creative Promotions: A company that focused on Marketing and Publicity Manager: April 1993 - August 1995
a) PACT DANCE COMPANY, ( ex- State Theatre Dance Company)
P O Box 566, Pretoria 0001. Artistic Director: Esther Nasser
Tel: 021 322 1665
June-Dec 1993/Jan-August 1995
Position: Publicity and Marketing Officer
Publicity & Marketing of PACT Dance Company:
The compilation and production and editing of brochures for the promotion of forthcoming seasons.
Writing PACT Info newsletters regarding the company in general as well as forthcoming seasons.
Writing Media/Press liaison / releases
Administration of Friends of the PDC
Assisting with fundraising
b) WINDYBROW CENTRE FOR THE ARTS: January - August 1995
161 Nugget Street, Hillbrow
Artistic Director: Walter Chakela
Position: Publicity and Marketing Officer
Publicity and marketing of all productions at Windybrow
Writing Press releases and media liaison
Writing Newsletter and marketing forthcoming productions
c) Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge Concert
Publicity of the concert: Press Releases; Contacts with specifically Kwa-Zulu Natal media; Organized the Press Conference; worked on both concerts dealing mainly with media and VIP’s.
d) PLAYHOUSE DANCE COMPANY: January - December 1994
P O Box 5353 Durban 4000: Tel: 031 369 9555
Artistic Director: Mark Hawkins
Position: Company Manager
Planning of year, co-ordination and administration of Playhouse Dance Company
Drawing up of contracts with choreographers and dancers
Planning of forthcoming seasons and tours
Budgets and performance schedules
Organization of tours and company management of company.
Company Manager of NDC tour to Bazel Tanzt Festival, Switzerland
Co-ordinator of FNB Vita Dance Shongololo Festival
Co-ordinator of Playhouse Dance Company Grahamstown Festival Tour
General administration of the company with the Artistic Director
Other projects I worked on as general administrator include
e) Johannesburg Youth Festival: June - Sept 1993
Braamfontein JHB: Position: Media Officer
f) Crafts Council of South Africa : May-Sept 1993
Johannesburg : Position : Media Officer
4. Name of employer: Wits Performing Arts Administration Private Bag Wits, 2010 Director : Mannie Manim
Date of employment: September 1991- May 1993
Post held: Audience Development/Marketing Manager
Selling of forthcoming productions
Marketing and publicity of all productions
Subscriptions/block bookings, concessions
Writing Newsletters/posters/press releases
Administration of Wits Theatre Club
Co-ordinate the production of posters and programmes
Compiled and edited Wits Arts newsletter.
Assisted with organization of the FNB Vita Dance Umbrella
5. Name of employer: Natal Performing Arts Council, (The Playhouse Company) P O Box 5353, Durban 4000. Date of employment: December 1985 - July 1991.
Last post held: Senior Marketing Officer
Marketing of all scheduled Dance, Drama, Music, Musicals and Opera productions in The Opera Theatre, The Drama Theatre, The Loft Theatre, The Studio, and administration of:
1. Friends of the Playhouse: this was conceived, launched and managed by me in an effort to encourage the general public to discover the arts, behind the scenes. The organization of the Friends events was done in liaison with arts departments and included:
Compilation and editing of the Friends newsletter
Organization of the special events
Organizing of annual Friends Festival Season event
General administration of the Friends Club with a renewable annual membership system.
2. Theatre Cats Kiddies Club. A monthly get-together for children aged between 6 & 12 years of age which included:
Organization of monthly meeting for members of the club
Liaison with arts departments re events
Writing of a monthly newsletter to members
3. Senior Citizens Club: This included an annual membership card which members could use for special discounts for selected productions.
4. Bus/Weekend tours: for the bigger Opera, Ballet amd Musical Theatre Productions, bus tours were arranged from the smaller towns around Durban.
5. Block bookings and subscriptions. I developed an effective subscription scheme for the NPO (Natal Philharmonic Orchestra), Drama, Opera, Ballet and contemporary dance seasons.
6. Dance Forums I & II. These national contemporary dance festivals focused on the presentation of new South African work and the bringing of the artists together to network. I was one of the organizers of both festivals.
7. Served as secretary of the Playhouse Trust, which focused on fund-raising for the Playhouse Company.
6. PACOFS (Performing Arts Council of the Free State), P O Box 1292, Bloemfontein 9300
Date of Employment: January 1984 - November 1985
Last post held: Company Manager: Drama Dept.
Liaison between company & management
Organization of tours and administration
Theatre & company management on tour
Flight bookings, visa’s and music rights
Word processor literate
Dancing (Ballet) Teachers certificate (Cecchetti)
Served on the Dance Committee for the National Arts Council (1999-2002)
Have been invited to the following festivals as the Director of Dance Umbrella:
a) Dance Umbrella, London (October 1998)
b) Montpellier Dance Festival, France (July 1999 & 2002)
c) A judge for the Afrique en Creations Choreography Competition held in Madagascar in November 1999/2003
d) Attended International Arts Management Conference: Birmingham: October 2004
e) Represented contemporary dance in Southern Africa at the Platform for African Contemporary Dance at the Tanzmesse in Dusseldorf, Germany in September/October 2004.
f) Was invited to France by the French Institute and assisted by the National Arts Council to do research on the Contemporary Choreography and Dance Development Spaces in and around Paris in May 2005.
g) Attended the Russian Dance Festival in Moscow in December 2005.
h Attended the African/Indian Ocean Choreographic Competition 2006 in Paris (April 2006)
i) Was in Germany in August 2007 and June 2009 to see German Dance projects and events
j) Attended a meeting African Arts practitioners in Munich, Germany in August 2008.
k) Attended the dance platform at the Theatre Ter Welt in Berlin Germany
l) Attended an international conference re connecting the arts to third world/ war-torn countries in Sweden in October 2009.
m) Attended a workshop in EU funding in April 2011 in Brussels.
n) ravelled to Reunion Island for dance festival 2012 AND 2014
o) Attended the IETM (International European Theatre Management) meeting in Dublin in 2013.
p) Attended the New York conference for Arts management: 2014
Winner of the Arts & Culture Trust Award: Administrator of the Year, in 2001 and 2010
Recipient of the Offisier de l’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres (Officer of the Arts and Literature Award) French Embassy in South Africa in 2017
GEORGINA THOMSON, P O BOX 91331, AUCKLAND PARK 2006
+27 11 6730035 +27825703083