Kanya Viljoen is a theatre-maker, performer and designer. Recently, Kanya wrote and directed RAAK, which debuted at the Vrystaat Kunstefees and was nominated as Best Production of the festival. Furthermore, it has been nominated for two Kyknet Fiësta Awards and is heading to US Woordfees 2019 for a limited run. Earlier this year, Kanya was awarded South African Theatre Magazine’s Best Emerging Director Award. In 2018, Kanya directed Like Hamlet, which was performed at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective as part of the Annex Theatre Bursary. Her script, mank, was selected for further development by Kunste Onbeperk’s Teksmark and she was awarded a writer’s bursary for this script. Currently, Kanya is an Andrew W Mellon scholar, completing her MA in theatre-making at the University of Cape Town.
Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni is a South African playwright, theatre director and performer. With a Bachelor of the Arts in Political Science, Philosophy and Dramatic Arts from Rhodes University and a Bachelor of the Arts (Hons) in Directing for Stage, Writing for Film and Avant-garde Film from the University of Cape Town, she attempts to make provocative work that deals with themes of violence, sexuality, race and history within a contemporary South African setting. As a playwright and director, her debut play, Sainthood has received a Standard Bank Ovation Award and a Fleur du Cap nomination and is the subject of her TEDxYouth Cape Town Talk, ‘Another Conversation for the Dinner Table?’. Following a successful run at the National Arts Festival and at Theatre Arts Admin Collective, Sainthood makes its way to the Baxter Theatre for a limited engagement.
Just over two years ago, Lindy Johnson entered the stand-up comedy arena and has rocketed to success. In 2017, she won the Savanna ‘Show us Your Apples’ open mic showdown, representing as the only woman to make the finals and then, of course, beating the stiff competition and more experienced comedians to win the title. After a comparatively short amount of time, Lindy has already started making her mark and carving out a niche in the South African comedy scene, performing on esteemed stages such as the Cape Town Comedy Club, Rocking the Daisies, the Jive Cape Town Festival and opening up for Nik Rabinowitz’ Dry White at the Baxter Theatre. Last year, Lindy was hand-picked as one of 13 local comedians selected to star in Trevor Noah’s Nationwild.
Lee-Ann van Rooi is an actor, educator, producer and director. This year marks Lee-Ann’s silver jubilee in the South African professional entertainment industry. With numerous awards, nominations and credits stretching over the various mediums of Film, TV, Stage and Radio, both locally and internationally, this UCT graduate’s interests and skills are wide-ranging, innovative and resourceful. A keen storyteller, puppeteer, teacher, mentor, writer, producer and director, she is particularly interested in growing and creatively educating audiences and the entertainment industry in a responsible and fair way. Lee-Ann has recently been nominated for two awards at this year’s upcoming Fiëstas Awards. She is nominated as Best Actress for her work in Ingrid Winterbach’s Ons is almal Freaks Hier and for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Chase Rhys’ Kinnes. She is currently gearing up to star as The Duchess of York in Richard III which will begin performances at Maynardville open-air theatre in February.
Gina Shmukler has been in the entertainment industry since she was six years old. In her career, her theatre work as an actress, director and producer, has garnered ten theatre nominations and four awards across different genres ranging from Mamma Mia and Chess, to Master Class and Silk Ties. In 2013, after completing her Master’s Degree in Drama at the University of Witwatersrand, Gina was the proud recipient of the Dr Sibongile Khumalo Creative Research Award. Her select directorial credits include; The Line, Lost in the Stars, Songs for a New World, The Market Theatre’s Brer Rabbit, Beautiful Creatures, Love: A Musical Revue, The Last Five Years and The Whole Megillah. Having taken a performance hiatus, Gina returned to the stage in 2017 in Mike van Graan’s Helen of Troyeville. At the end of 2018, she returned to her musical theatre roots by stepping into Aunty Merle the Musical, which makes its way to Joburg Theatre following three sold-out engagements in Cape Town.
Bethany Dickson is a Naledi and Fleur du Cap Theatre Award nominated actress. For more than a decade, Bethany has been charming South African and international audiences by tackling some of musical theatres most iconic roles. After making her debut in High School Musical, she has since gone on to perform in Singin’ in the Rain, Sunset Boulevard, The Sound of Music and Grease. We sat down with her to chat about her latest role, portraying Miss Honey in the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved classic, Matilda.
Jill Levenberg is an award-winning Film, Television and theatre actress. At the moment, she is currently starring as Mymoena in the long-running TV series, Suidooster. She has been receiving critical acclaim for her role as Ellen Pakkies in Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story, which marks her first leading role in a film. Jill has worked extensively in theatre and television since graduating from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Theatre & Performance and English Literature, graduating on the Dean’s Merit List. Her theatre credits include Medea, Blood Brothers and Orpheus in Africa which awarded her a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Select film credits include Noem My Skollie, Fluit Fluit, Abraham, While You Weren’t Looking and Uitvlugt. We sat down to chat with her about her career and her emotionally demanding and boundary-pushing role in Ellen. Continue reading
Jenny Stead is an actress currently starring as Judy Boone in the South African premiere of the West End and Broadway hit, The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time. After graduating from the University of Stellenbosch, she won the Vita award for Best New Actress for her performance in Fiona Coyne’s Glass Roots. Jenny won a Fleur du Cap for her performance in Reza de Wet’s Breathing In, followed by a tour through the USA and Europe with the New York Colonnade’s production of the politically charged, Truth In Translation. She was nominated for a Fleur du Cap for Best Actress in A Musical for her portrayal of Janet in The Fugard Theatre’s production of The Rocky Horror Show. Her fourth Fleur du Cap Nomination was for The Visit in 2018. Her film and television credits include The Poseidon Adventure, Starship Troopers 3, Restless, ICE and Blood Drive. Continue reading
Claire Taylor is an actor, singer, dancer and voice artist. Her select credits include West Side Story, Rock of Ages (Naledi nomination), Dirty Dancing, Sunset Boulevard and Cabaret, for which she was nominated for a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award. She has worked in theatres and countries all over the world including Australia, Italy, China and the USA. She has also featured on various local and international voice campaigns. Claire is the founder and director of a promotional and events staffing agency, and experiential entertainment company, Promotiv, which she launched in January 2018. She is currently starring as Mrs Wormwood in the South African premiere of Matilda. Continue reading
Leila Henriques is an actor, writer, director and teacher. As an actress, she has starred in more than 30 productions. Some of her select stage credits include: Hedda Gabler, The Something Prince, Yerma, Red Shoes and The List. She has taught acting at various academic institutions across South Africa including Wits, AFDA and The Market Theatre Lab. Together with Irene Stephanou, she wrote the book The World in an Orange –exploring the work of Barney Simon published by Jacana, which was shortlisted for the Alan Paton award. Following a successful run at Woordfees earlier this year, she is currently starring in Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class directed by Sylvaine Strike at the Baxter Theatre. Continue reading