The Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation in Hout Bay left its mark on stage as its members performed their hearts out at Artscape’s recent schools arts festival.The group, made up of children from Imizamo Yethu and the surrounding areas, impressed the audience and the judges, despite being considered a new organisation. They jumped at the chance to participate in the festival and entered three pieces to give as many participants as possible the life-changing experience of performing in a professional theatre in front of thousands of people. They were even more excited to hear that the judges wanted to use all three pieces in the gala performance. “It was such an honour to be selected for the gala event and to hear that one of our pieces, Stamina, choreographed by Mandisa Qwesha, had been considered the most powerful dance piece of the festival. Even more heartwarming was an SMS which was sent by an ardent theatregoer at the festival that stated: ‘All the Amoyo performances were better than many I have seen in professional theatre here and overseas,’” says Kim Worrall, CEO and co-founder of Amoyo.Worrall says they are still considered a new organisation and it has taken them two and a half years to get their solid foundation in place. “We have kept quite a low profile in order to get the core structures in place within our classes and to build a foundation with sound governance while learning all the business and NPO ropes, so to speak,” she says.The group took a knock in March this year as they went into disaster relief mode, doing everything they could to support the 50 Amoyo families who lost their homes in the Imizamo Yethu fire, including providing a supportive and healing place in the classes.“Hout Bay can be proud of these gifted children who are learning a professional approach to theatre which is now taking them beyond the very challenging township environment and into a new dimension of achievements in the world of theatre.”Amoyo offers 32 after-school classes a week. “Despite the social and physical pressures they rise to shine, absorbing all the lessons Amoyo has to give them. They are now able to envision a future outside of their immediate confines of poverty, knowing that they are worthy of who they are and that to achieve in life means hard work. It is incredible to see the children begin to appreciate themselves – a crucial first step to appreciating what they can envision of themselves, appreciation of what life can offer,” says Worrall.She says they are grateful to the Waterfront Theatre School, for the costumes they provided for Rainbow love and Look into the mirror, and Velocity for the loan of their combi to help with transport. V For more information follow amoyohb on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.amoyo.org or contact Kim Worrall on 021 300 3297 or firstname.lastname@example.org.