Mike van Graan

Mike van Graan currently serves as the Coordinator of the Sustaining Theatre and Dance (STAND) Foundation, an initiative to support the South African dance and theatre sector through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

He has extensive experience in policy formulation and advocacy and in building artists’ networks, both in South Africa and across the African continent. Mike was the founding Secretary General of Arterial Network, a pan-African organisation advocating for the cultural dimension of development, human rights and democracy. He served on the expert facility of UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions from 2011–2018. He is the head writer of the team that produced Breathing New Vision into Theatre and Dance: National Theatre and Dance Policy, commissioned by South Africa’s Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in 2021.

As a playwright with 36 plays under his belt, he is regarded as one of South Africa’s foremost contemporary playwrights having garnered numerous awards and nominations for his work.

He is the 2018 recipient of the Swedish Hiroshima Prize for Peace and Culture, the same year that he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Pretoria in recognition of his work as a playwright, and as a cultural activist.

Photo: Lebogang Nawa

Country duty

Mike van Graan New writing 2022-08-02

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi is LitNet’s series of 15 short, powerful monologues, presented in collaboration with Suidoosterfees, NATi and ATKV. Watch Motlatji Mjamba perform Country duty, written by Mike van Graan and directed by Chuma Sopotela.

Teaterliefhebbers in Johannesburg byeen om kunstenaars te ondersteun

Melt Myburgh, Jean Meiring, Mike van Graan, Tendayi Dhure Teater 2022-02-22

Jean Meiring het teaterliefhebbers in Johannesburg onlangs in sy tuin byeengebring om STAND (Sustaining Theatre and Dance Foundation) te ondersteun. Mike van Graan het ’n toespraak gelewer waarin hy die verwoestende impak van Covid-19-inperkingsmaatreëls op die teaterbedryf belig het. Lees hier oor dié heerlike geleentheid en kyk na Tendayi Dhure se foto’s.

Reguit met Robinson: A Zoom interview with Mike van Graan

Freek Robinson, Mike van Graan Interviews 2021-03-25

Where are the millions? Freek Robinson interviews playwright and activist Mike van Graan from the Sustaining Theatre and Dance (STAND) Foundation and the Theatre and Dance Alliance.

Human rights and cultural relativism in Africa

Mike van Graan Seminare en essays 2019-06-10

"Are human rights absolute, or are they relative to cultural – including religious – beliefs and practices? The recent passing of anti-abortion laws in Alabama in the USA was done with evangelistic religious fervour, with Governor Kay Ivey stating that the passing of the law was a 'powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God'."

We are a country in waiting

Mike van Graan Opinion 2018-02-08

"The postponement of SONA is a metaphor for where we are as a country. We are a country in waiting. The dreams of 1994 and our hopes as citizens have been deferred. Again."

US Woordfees 2016 interview: Rainbow Scars by Mike van Graan

Mike van Graan, Naomi Meyer Toyota US Woordfees 2016-02-09

"Scars are not only physical. Hurt – and therefore, scars – may take emotional, psychological and intellectual forms too." 

#feesmustfall: Learning from protests past

Mike van Graan Seminare en essays 2015-10-29

"These divisions and the myriad of voices emanating from them, as well as the temptation to pursue more demands on the back of a major victory, present the student leadership at each institution and the collective leadership across the country with major challenges, but also with the opportunity to show what this country has been lacking for so long: leadership!"

Open Stellenbosch: Beyond the rainbow, towards a change of climate

Mike van Graan English 2015-09-18

"Constitutions are about the 'promised land'; ours is certainly not a magic wand that has wiped out our history and made us all equal. To achieve this 'promised land' we need to be pragmatic, generous and human in our approaches to move from where we are, from what we have inherited, to what we would collectively like to be." 

Artists unite against corruption

Mike van Graan Menings 2015-08-12

More than 650 individuals in the arts, culture and heritage sector endorsed the Unite Against Corruption campaign in less than a week.

Keelvol kunstenaars kap korrupsie

Jean Oosthuizen, Mike van Graan Onderhoude 2015-08-05

"Ons moedig kunstenaars aan om by die veldtog teen korrupsie betrokke te raak, omdat dit in belang van alle landsburgers en kunstenaars is dat korrupsie in die kiem gesmoor word."

kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse: Onderhoud met Mike van Graan

Naomi Bruwer, Mike van Graan 2014-10-16 Die kortlys van die eerste kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse is pas bekendgemaak. Mike van Graan was een van die beoordelaars van die Niefiksie-kategorie.

Impressions of contemporary South Africa through the theatre of the National Arts Festival 2014

Mike van Graan 2014-07-16 Mike van Graan shares his thoughts on the National Arts Festival in a year that marks 40 years of the festival, but more importantly, 20 years of democracy.

All the world's a stage

Mike van Graan 2014-05-28  Mike van Graan's opinion on the appointment of Nathi Mthethwa as Minster of Arts and Culture.

Clover Aardklop 2013: Mike van Graan gesels oor Gevalle engel

Réney Warrington, Mike van Graan 2013-09-17 Gevalle engel is ’n spanningsvolle menslike drama. Reney Warrington gesels met skrywer Mike van Graan.

Afrikaans, Afrikaans and not a drop of Zulu, Xhosa or Tswana to drink

Mike van Graan 2012-06-08 "Whereas Afrikaans theatre-makers are blessed with a number of festivals that are the key producers of theatre in South Africa today, there is not a single theatre festival in Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, etc that promotes, celebrates and projects professional, mainstream theatre in those – or other indigenous African – languages today." Mike van Graan responds to Albert Maritz.