Plea from Noah’s Art

Lefty Mabenga Pantsula Troupe, Randfontein - Noah's Art

Plea from Noah’s Art as performing artists face possible starvation.

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown levels and restrictions have negatively affected many businesses, causing high levels of unemployment especially the hospitality and entertainment industries where financial aid is mostly non-existent. With the industry at a virtual standstill and performance venues indefinitely closed, many performers, some possibly regarded as local stars with celebrity status together with riggers, sound engineers and behind the scenes crew are in dire financial straits with nowhere to turn for assistance.

Johannesburg-based Noah’s Art, conceptualised and operated by eight caring theatre and dance professionals worked together, raising funds for food parcels and food vouchers. So far Noah’s Art has distributed 1900 grocery vouchers to performers and their families in Soweto, Orange Farm, Johannesburg, Alexandra, Cape Town, Durban and Gqeberha. As the pandemic and lockdown continues especially in winter, the need for food and basic nourishment is ever increasing and funds are about to run out. Noah’s Art is urgently appealing to anyone who is able to lend their support at this critical time by donating food vouchers through a financial contribution to kindly donate by depositing in the Noah’s Art bank account, Investec Bank Limited, Acc No: 50016898206, Branch No: 580105, Reference: Donor name. As we live in difficult times and understandably many people not in a position to donate, the Noah’s Art Team would appreciate the sharing of this plea with family, friends, business associates or on social media platforms. Enquiries:

Theatre professionals Vicky Friedman, Lorri Strauss, Shelley Meskin, Talia Kodesh, Caryn Katz, Sharon Spiegel-Wagner and Hannah Rudnicki along with choreographer David Matamela could not stand by and watch their contemporaries suffer or starve. They formed Noah’s Art – an initiative to collect food and donations to assist performing artists without employment, without income and without means to survive. This is an unprecedented crisis of enormous proportions throughout the country and the Noah’s Art team are trying to help feed as many performers as possible during this difficult time.

Musical Theatre performer, voice over artist, stage director, choreographer and aspiring producer, Vicky Friedman, (Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Stepping Out) is the founding member of Noah’s Art. Before the COVID-19 pandemic Vicky ran Fame Academy which is a performing arts youth training platform. David Matamela, the award-winning co-choreographer of the hit show African Footprint and resident choreographer on The Lion King South Africa and former judge on the hit TV series “So you think you can Dance” is a long-time friend of Vicky Friedman. David was inundated with requests from dancers and performers who were desperate knowing they are unable to feed their families. David, along with Vicky and their friends who are also fellow performers were extremely concerned about their friends and colleagues who were suddenly plunged into unemployment by the pandemic. The group got together to brainstorm and the idea for Noah’s Art was born.

Initially the Noah’s Art team printed out posters and displayed these next to collection boxes at dance and drama studios, schools, shops and restaurants, collecting tinned and dry goods. Weekends were spent packing grocery parcels which were then sent to grateful recipients. Noah’s Art was taken to the next level at a Jewish Report Webinar arranged by Howard Sackstein and Jonathan Birin. Various singers performed during this webinar and the Noah’s Art team were absolutely blown away by a surprise announcement that The Angel Network Charity had decided to pledge R100 000 to Noah’s Art and to the plight of performing artists! Many other individuals watching the Jewish Report Webinar also generously donated that evening which kickstarted the Noah’s Art fundraising in a big way.

The donations and support from The Angel Network and members of the Jewish community enabled Noah’s art to reach far more artists than the group originally could have hoped for. Noah’s Art also received the proceeds of ticket sales from “African Pulse”, a stage show produced by Showtime Management.

Noah’s Art has given assistance to JAM “Johannesburg Awakening Minds”, a previously homeless Shakespeare troupe trained by Dorothy Anne Gould. Makers Valley – an artist residency in Lorentzville has also been helped. Pre-loved tap shoes have been collected and donated to The Rooted Tapper’s dancers based in Soweto. Ezasi Kasi is a local delivery business in Alexandra run by a group of performers. Funds were raised in order to get the small business up and running.

According to Vicky Friedman, “Many in our industry have lost their homes, cars, furniture, musical instruments and equipment. Some rely on relatives for food and a roof over their heads. There are talented performing arts professionals and crew members dealing with the issues of unemployment, malnutrition, homelessness, the loss of loved ones and no-where to turn.” Friedman shared that an artist whom she was in a show with had to hospitalise his 8-year-old daughter due to malnutrition. “This is extremely upsetting. We are doing what we can to assist. What keeps our team going are the messages from artists who have had their spirits lifted and their tummies filled because they have received a voucher for groceries.”

“Thank you so much for the grocery voucher we really appreciate this…especially in these hard times.. Thank you so much Noah’s Art and Angel Network….” Chorister 🙌🙌🙏

“Thank you so much Noah’s Art about the voucher you really helped us guys, may the lord be with you all the time.” Women Unite Group

“…… in harnessing the burden to a whole lot of families, struggling to make ends meet.” Dancer

Please consider helping Noah’s Art to help those whose cry is no longer an onstage performance; now they literally cry for food. The team at Noah’s Art do not receive any financial benefit nor payment instead they willingly give of their time and the caring passion in their hearts to keep our artists afloat. Follow Noah’s Art on Facebook @Noah’sArt and Instagram @noahsart_organisation #noahsart #keepourartistsafloat


  • DAVID MATAMELA – Co-choreographer African Footprint, SA resident choreographer The Lion King, So You Think You Can Dance Judge
  • VICKY FRIEDMAN – Chicago, Hairspray, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Owner Fame Academy, Aspiring Theatre producer
  • TALIA KODESH – Rent, Beauty & The Beast, Chicago, Owner Jozi Dance Studios
  • CARYN KATZ – Naledi Award winner Skin Deep, Professional Voice Coach, Alexander Technique practitioner
  • SHELLEY MESKIN – Jerusalema, The Last Victims, Umama, Owner Cabaret Kids
  • LORRI STRAUSS – Backstage ETV, We Will Rock you, Rent, The Rocky Horror Show
  • SHARON SPEIGEL-WAGNER – Bedford Wives, The Dead Tinder Society, Grease, Hairspray
  • HANNAH RUDNICKI – Oakfields Graduate Performing arts, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Fiddler on the Roof.

Sent on behalf of Noah’s Art by:
Debra de Souza
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