"I’m concentrating on steering ACT and South African arts and culture into a financially sustainable, substantial national industry," Desando says.
"It is second nature for me to be both a creative and CEO and all the ACT staff members are able to combine the arts and business, which keeps us all in touch with the industry.
"We are in a wonderfully creative phase, with a lot of brave, innovative creations in the performing arts emerging from a new generation of fearless artists who are forging their own path and letting their distinctive voices be heard.
"As part of my activism, I would like to see at least 60% of creatives in SA being able to produce high-quality performance works of art for which they are recognised and from which they can earn a decent, sustainable living and contribute to the economy. To achieve this, we need far more investment in the performing arts, which are currently heavily reliant on donor funding."
Desando says he is excited about the growth potential of performing arts locally and internationally.
He emphasises the importance of telling South African stories in a South African way.
"From the performing arts to art galleries and exhibitions, it’s inspiring to see the kind of innovative and revolutionary ideas coming out: there’s a surviving and thriving," he says. "It is about bringing opera and theatre and dance and music into the home of every South African through recognising the worth of each of our stories, whoever we are and wherever we live.
"We don’t know enough about arts and culture beyond the metros. We spend too much time thinking about the arts and culture needs of people in rural areas instead of travelling to them and discussing their needs so as to foster more sustainable, creative programmes through education and training."
ACT is focusing on the Eastern Cape where it is engaged in education and training with organisations and communities in remote rural areas to help develop them into fully fledged arts and culture businesses.
"We would like to make this a national initiative and to offer scholarships to aspiring performers in these areas, in addition to our metropolitan areas, to help them pursue tertiary and postgraduate education in the arts and arts administration," Desando says.
"We have a wonderful development component in the ACT programme ... which we will be expanding to scale. Our aim is reach every part of SA to ignite an arts and culture upsurge."