Simoné Benjamin is a stage, screen and radio actress and the Corporate Affairs Specialist at Distell. With an Instagram handle aptly named Corporate Actress SA, her work with Distell sees her merging the corporate and arts sectors as she initiates, manages and supports various arts projects including the Distell National Playwright Competition, the Technical Training Programme at Artscape, the Amazink Live programme as part of Woordfees and the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, to name a few. As a performer, she has featured as the titular character in the radio drama Die Verdwyning van Mina Afrika as well as it’s sequel Die Tuiskoms van Mina Afrika. Simoné was most recently seen on screen in the short film Janneman, which debuted at this year’s Silwerskermfees. Continue reading
Siphokazi Jonas is a writer, performer, and poet. She has written, produced, and performed in four one-woman poetry shows. She wrote, produced and performed in a multi-genre theatre production, Around the Fire, which was staged at the 2016 Artscape Spiritual Festival and the 2018 Women’s Humanity Festival. Her stage work includes Natalia da Rocha’s Adam Small Festival and Mandla Mbothwe’s Oratorio of a Forgotten Youth. In 2018, she presented her directorial debut, The Widow, as part of Artscape’s New Voices programme. The production returns to the Artscape Arena at the beginning of August 2019. Jonas has been a featured act at numerous poetry sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Her experience with spoken word has led to multiple invitations to judge poetry slam competitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She has also performed with renowned musicians including, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Freshlyground, Pops Mohamed, Dizu Plaatjies and Dave Reynolds. Jonas made history in 2016 as the first African poet to perform at Rhetoric in California. In February 2019 she was also a headline act on the first ever South African national poetry tour, the Fresh Poetry Tour. She was crowned as the first Cape Town Ultimate Slam Champion in 2015 and was the runner-up in the prestigious 2016 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, coming second out of 600 poems submitted nationally. Her work was longlisted again in 2017.
Ilse Klink is an award-winning actor, singer and television personality. She is best known for the role of Vanessa Booysens on the daily soap, Isidingo. Her stage credits include Mamma Mia!, Rent, Chicago, Show Boat, Menopause -The Musical, Kristalvlakte, Scorched and Caeser, to name a few. She has graced South African television screens by appearing in Roer Jou Voete, iNkaba, 7de Laan and Broken Vows. Her movie credits include Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story, Cold Harbour, Dis ek, Anna and Stroomop for which she was recently awarded a 2019 SAFTA Golden Horn for Best Supporting Actress. Ilse is currently treading the boards as Mama Morton in Chicago, a role she has returned to for the third time, a decade after she played it last. Continue reading
Adele Blank is a choreographer, dance instructor and Director of Free Flight Dance Company, which she formed in 1987. She has trained, performed, choreographed and taught extensively in classical ballet and contemporary dance both locally and abroad. Since the beginning of the millennium, Adele’s artistic reach has extended far beyond the realm of dance. She has been responsible for numerous local and international TV adverts, movies, operas, fundraisers and a host of industrial theatre productions. Whilst coaching and teaching, she has created for many companies and is very involved in community and outreach programmes. Adele is a recipient of the Arts & Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award for Dance. We sat down to chat with her about devoting her life to dance and directing her latest project, Blue Violin, which will be performed at Artscape for a limited run. Continue reading
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.
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.
Mariëtte Opperman began dancing at the age of seven. She trained under Paula Olivier and later did an intensive vocational study with Martin Schönberg. She started her professional career in 2008 at the South African Ballet Theatre. She joined Cape Town City Ballet in 2010, where she is currently a senior soloist. Mariëtte also performed professionally in Stockholm, Sweden for a year. Her most memorable roles to date include the Black Swan in Swan Lake, Diane in Diane and Acteon, Kitri in Don Quixote, Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker, Firebird in Firebird, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Giselle in Giselle. She is currently gearing up to take on the titular role in Veronica Paeper’s production of Cinderella for Cape Town City Ballet.
Carmen Pretorius is a Naledi and Fleur du Cap nominated musical theatre and televison actress, qualified makeup artist and presenter. After getting her professional start by winning the televised High School Musical competition, she went on to star in notable productions including Mamma Mia, Footloose, Jersey Boys and most recently The Sound of Music, which sees her taking on the role of Maria. We sat down with Carmen, ahead of the final week of the production, to chat about her “metamorphic” journey with the show.
Ukhona Ntsali Mlandu is an Arts Manager, Curator and Facilitator. During the last few years she has worked alongside some of South Africa’s leading arts institutions and organisations including Artscape where she spent several years heading up their Resource Center, PANSA, FTH:K and Siyasanga Cape Town Theatre Company before going on to become an independent Arts Manager. She has launched her latest project makwande.republic, a residency program set in the heart of her hometown village in the Eastern Cape. We sat down with her to chat about moving back home, creating makwande.republic and having to coin a new phrase to encompasses her multi-faceted career.
Melanie Burke is the chairman of the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards. Originally based in the corporate world, Melanie was appointed to her position six years ago. She serves on the board of many NGO’s but it’s the Fleur du Cap’s that have broken her “three-year volunteering rule.” A fierce and formidable presence in the theatre industry, we sat down with Melanie at the Baxter Theatre, the upcoming venue of the 53rd annual Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, to discuss her journey as chairman of South Africa’s most coveted theatre award. For a list of the nominees, please click here.