Mike van Graan, primarily a theatre writer and producer, is the Executive Director of the African Arts Institute and the former Secretary General of the Arterial Network, a continent-wide network engaged in the African creative sector. He is currently a UNESCO Technical Expert on the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
He completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in English and Drama and a Higher Diploma in Education at the University of Cape Town. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Drama. He is currently completeing an MA Degree in Drama at UCT, exploring the ideas around HIV/AIDS in mainstream South African theatre since 1994.
An accomplished playwrite, his plays include Die Generaal, winner of the Fleur du Cap Best New Script Award 2008, Brothers in Blood, a Market Theatre production that won the Naledi Theatre Award for Best New Play 2009, and Iago’s Last Dance which premiered at the National Arts Festival and was nominated in the Fleur du Cap Best New Script category, 2009. Van Graan won the Fleur du Cap award for Best New Script for his trilogy, Dinner Talk, in 1998, and in 2003, Green Man Flashing won the Jury Award for Best Script at the PANSA/UCT Drama School Festival of Reading of New Writing. It was nominated for Best Script in the 2005 Johannesburg Naledi Theatre Awards and the Cape Town Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.
Other works include Hostile Takeover, Jury runner-up at the PANSA Festival of Reading of New Writing 2004, and three 2006 productions, Mixed Metaphors, Two to Tango and Some Mothers’ Sons.
Van Graan has held numerous important positions within South Africa, some of which include, Special Adviser on arts and culture to Dr Ben Ngubane, the then Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology from 1994 to 1996, organiser and then Coordinator of the International Network for Cultural Diversity from 2003 to 2004, Cape Town Regional Representative for Business and Arts South Africa from 2004 to 2006 and Micro-Economic Development Strategy Researcher for the Western Cape government into the creative industries for 2005.