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.
For months Cape Town has been buzzing about the upcoming historic all-women production of The Taming of the Shrew, which is set to take the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre by storm. Fierce and formidable theatre veterans, Daneel van der Walt and Alicia McCormick have been tapped to lead the company by playing sparring partners Petruchio and Kate, respectively. We sat down with them to chat about the history-making production, debuting at Maynardville and the importance of working with women.
A historic production of Shakespeare’s popular comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, will be presented at the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre, directed by Tara Notcutt and featuring an all-female cast and creative team. Award-winning director Notcutt is making history with something never before seen on a South African stage: an all-female version of a Shakespeare play. She leads some of South Africa’s most celebrated actresses in a version of The Taming of the Shrew like it has never been seen before: a meeting of classic text with modern twists, including lip-synching, 90s fashion, and an all-female cast playing men and playing women, supported by an all-female creative team. This production also makes history as Notcutt becomes the 5th women in 61 years to direct a Shakespearian production at Maynardville. We were invited to attend the cast’s first day of rehearsals and get a sneak peak at this groundbreaking production.
Following its run in Cape Town, The Stephan Fourie Theatre Company’s production of Rent is making its way to Johannesburg. We sat down with the three principal actresses in the show, Nadine Suliaman, Emily Adair and Namisa Mdlalose who play the roles of Mimi, Maureen and Joanne, respectively. You can read part one of our chat with the female ensemble of Rent by clicking here. Continue reading
The internationally renowned production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is finally making its South African debut. We had the opportunity to sit down with the three Divas of the show: Candida Mosoma, Londiwe Dhlomo-Dlamini and Thembeka Mnguini, to chat about the show, their fears of flying and their personal definition of what it means to be a diva. To see the Divas in action performing It’s Raining Men on the Expresso Show click here. Continue reading