Mike van Graan

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Mike van Graan (1959- ) is a prominent South African dramatist, theatre director, cultural consultant and activist.


Also wrote some plays as Peter September, when submitting plays (e.g. Hostile Takeover) to the annual PANSA Festival of Reading of New Writing


Van Graan was born in Cape Town and matriculated at Harold Cressy High School in 1977, after which he completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in English and Drama at the University of Cape Town (UCT) (1980) and a Higher Diploma in Education (UCT) (1981). A few years later he returned to UCT where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Drama (UCT) (1986) and in 20** completed an MA Degree in Drama at UCT, exploring the theme (or the absence thereof) of HIV/AIDS in mainstream South African theatre since 1994.

His contribution to South African arts and culture

Cultural activist

Director of the Bartle Arts Trust (BAT) 1995. Trained at UCT studied English & Drama with honours in play directing. Also director of CAP & later National Projects Officer of the Congress of SA Writers. Driving force behind National Arts Coalition (NAC). Mike van Graan is one of South Africa's leading playwrights, cultural activists and commentators. He currently serves as the Director of the African Arts Institute in Cape Town and heads the Secretariat of the Arterial Network, an informal network of individuals and organisations committed to developing the African creative sector. He has served in leadership capacities in various progressive cultural NGOs both during the apartheid era e.g. Director of the Community Arts Project, Projects Coordinator of the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW) and General Secretary of the National Arts Coalition, and after the country's first democratic elections in 1994 e.g. Director of the BATCentre and General Secretary of the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA).

Many of his most incisive cultural comments have appeared as The Cultural Weapon, online articles published in Artslink.co.za and later on Van Graan's own website at

Arts and culture consultant

During the Mandela Presidency, he was appointed as an Advisor to the first Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology and participated in the formulation of new cultural policies by helping to draft the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage. He and Tammy Ballantyne launched their consultancy - Article 27 Arts and Culture Consultants - in January 1996 to offer a variety of policy, administrative, training and event management services. With the decline in many institutions as the consequence of poor management and implementation of policy, he helped to found the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) in 2001. He was elected General Secretary of PANSA and played this role for four years, helping to create the most effective post-apartheid arts lobby. He has done research into the creative industries for the Western Cape government, administered the Arts and Culture Trust and served as the regional representative of Business and Arts South Africa.

Article 27 Arts and Culture Consultants

The South African Handbook on Arts and Culture

The Arterial Network

Launched at a conference "Revitalising African Cultural Assets" in Senegal in March 2007, and Van Graan was asked to serve as the Secretariat to the Network, an informal association of individuals and organisations working to develop the African creative sector. He continues to work in this capacity and as a playwright.


In 2006, he decided to concentrate on playwriting and producing, both to contribute towards post-apartheid theatre and to develop models of greater sustainability for independent theatre-makers in a hostile policy and funding environment. To this end he developed the website MVG Productions and which includes such facilities as the Mike van Graan Theatre Club and the Angels Network.

His plays include:

The Dogs Must Be Crazy (1991); Some of our Best Friends are Cultural Workers (1992); Not Exactly PC! (1996); Dinner Talk (1998); The Tables Trilogy (1999); Green Man Flashing (2004); Hostile Takeover (2005, reworked as Just Business in 2012)); Mixed Metaphors (2005); Some Mothers' Sons (2005); Two to Tango (2005); Mirror, Mirror (2006); Bafana Republic (2007); Die Generaal (also known as The General - 2007); Bafana Republic 2: Extr'a Time (2008); Odysseus van Holland (2008); Ramiz and Julio (2008); Bafana Republic 3: Penalty Shootout (2009); Brothers in Blood (2009); Iago's Last Dance (2009); Is It Because I'm Jack? (2010); Rainbow Scars (2013).

Awards, etc.

He was awarded the Hiroshima Prize for 2018 [1]. The Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture presents the award to a person who has contributed, in a cultural field, to fostering dialogue, understanding and peace in conflict areas.


MVG Productions Website[2]


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