Penny Simpson is a costume designer and visual artist. After completing her theatre design studies at Sadlers Wells Design School, she returned to South Africa and began her career by joining CAPAB and designing for several of their productions. She has devoted more than 40 years to the theatre industry and has designed costumes for notable productions including; Hadrian VII, Miss Julie, Mother Courage and her Children, Present Laughter, Relatively Speaking, Show Boat, The Diary of Anne Frank, Exit the King and Fiddler on the Roof, to name a few. Her most recent theatrical credits include; Blood Brothers, Sunset Boulevard, Cabaret and Rocky Horror. During the last several years, Penny has focused her attention on portrait painting. Several of her paintings can be seen displayed in the foyer of Theatre on The Bay. Currently. Penny has returned to her theatrical roots by designing the costumes featured in Mel Brooks’ The Producers, which is currently running at Theatre on The Bay followed by a run at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino in Johannesburg.
Guest Post: The Chronicles of an Independent Theatre-Maker
In 2018 during our interview with theatre-maker Dara Beth, we spoke about the return engagement of her play, Nasty Womxn. Now, 18 months later, Nasty Womxn is back for its third return engagement, this time featuring a new cast, a reworked script and coinciding with Dara’s latest theatrical offering, The Chronicles of Athena, Babes. Tasked with staging two independently produced works which almost run concurrently, we ask Dara to share her thoughts around this creative process. Continue reading
A Conversation with Kyra Loubser
Kyra Loubser is a Cape Town-based hair and makeup artist, stylist and beauty editor for Kuier Magazine. Initially entering the industry as a hairdresser, Kyra was introduced to the world of television with M-Net working as part of the styling team for the Miss Soweto Pageant. She then went on to be a part of the styling team for the Miss South Africa Pageant, which she considers to be a career-defining moment. Kyra was then approached by Idols winner, Karin Kortje to do her styling, hair and makeup which jumpstarted her career as a stylist, hair and makeup artist and saw her work expanding into theatre. This led to introductions to names such as Alistair Izobell and Kim Engelbrecht. About a year later, she was offered the position as Tracey Lange’s stylist for Bravo! on Kyknet. Kyra also spends her time mentoring and upskilling four ‘Kyra Fairies’ who have shown an interest and passion for the industry. Her work has spanned TV, film and theatre but it’s her latest project, which sees her designing and creating the makeup looks featured in Kinky Boots at the Fugard Theatre, that has everyone buzzing. Continue reading
A Conversation with Carin Bester
Carin Bester is a performance artist, actress, set designer and art director who has been working in the film, television and theatre industry for the past 10 years. In 2015, Carin performed her first performance art piece Verlies. She was drawn to performance art because of its immediacy and honesty. She views it as a medium in which she can express herself freely as she interrogates issues of social importance effectively. In 2017, she did My Body My Life, a performance installation which took the statistics of gender-based violence in South Africa directly to the viewer. Since then she has done various other pieces about gender-based violence in South Africa. Currently, she is experimenting with documentation of performance elements to create print and video art. A piece called Dress of Remembrance, which was worn on August 1st 2018 as part of the #TheTotalshutdown March against gender-based violence to Parliament, has been included in an exhibition at the Iziko Slave Lodge Museum. Cape Town audiences recently saw Carin’s set design featured in Figure of 8 Dance Collective’s Wag/Waiting which debuted at the Baxter Theatre. She will be performing a new piece Till Death Do Us Part this August as part of the Vavasati International Women’s Festival at The State Theatre in Pretoria.
A Conversation with Naledi Majola
Naledi Majola is an actor, performance-maker and sound designer. In 2018, she was seen on stage in Tara Notcutt’s historic all-female production of The Taming of the Shrew and in Stream, a multimedia performance work led by Jennifer Steyn at the Baxter Theatre. She makes her feature film debut later this year in The Banana Splits. Her performance work, Where is the black samurai? debuted at Arcade, a durational live art platform curated by Gavin Krastin, and was most recently performed at the 2018 ICA Live Art Festival. Naledi also designs sound for performance, having recently done so for her own work, as well as AMES, written and directed by Andi Colombo in 2018 and the upcoming production of Tales from the Garden written by Ameera Conrad, which will run at the Baxter Theatre’s Masambe Theatre followed by a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this year.
A Conversation with Tessa Denton
Tessa Denton is an actor, director, choreographer and designer. She was recently appointed to Gate69’s art department where she is tasked with creating the obscure, creative, daring and over the top wigs, headpieces, earrings and accessories. Over the years, she has created many looks for a variety of clients, whether it be with make-up, body paint, dress setting, sets, decor, props, wigs, accessories or even just conceptualising ideas events. As an actor, some of her TV credits include; Die Boekklub, Getroud met Rugby, Donkerland, Binnelanders, 7de Laan and Generations. Select theatre credits include; Mis, Altyd in my drome, The Rocky Horror Show, Grease, The Full Monty and Lady Macbeth in the adult pantomime Macbeth. Later this year she’ll be seen on stage in Mis in Johannesburg followed by two TV appearances in Fynskrif and Sara se Geheim. Currently, her wig designs can be seen on stage at Gate69 in their latest show, Non-Specific.
A Conversation with Mariechen Vosloo
Mariechen Vosloo is a costume designer and actor. She received her BA Drama degree from Stellenbosch University in 2011. Mariechen has assisted designer Birrie Le Roux on various productions, some of which are West Side Story, Marat/Sade and The Inconvenience of Wings. Mariechen has also worked in the South African and international advertising and film industry. She was the costume supervisor on Christiaan Olwagen’s film Johnny is nie dood nie, and subsequently designed the costumes for Die Seemeeu and Kanarie, also directed by Olwagen. She was also costume designer for TV series Dwaalster and Die Spreeus. We sat down with her to chat about Die Seemeeu which arrives in select theatres on April 5th 2019. Continue reading
A Conversation with Kanya Viljoen
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.
A Conversation with Lamees Albertus and Widaad Albertus
Sisters Lamees and Widaad Albertus have become a force to be reckoned within the theatre industry. Currently working at The Fugard Theatre, Lamees holds the position of Theatre Manager and Associate Producer while Widaad not only holds the title of Wardrobe Supervisor and Production Assistant, but is currently also juggling the task of working as lead Costume Designer on several of the Fugard Theatre’s most anticipated upcoming shows including The Demon Bride and Significant Other. While most of their work tends to happen behind the scenes and away from the spotlight, Lamees recently had her work recognised by being featured in the Mail & Guardian’s 2017 Book of South African Women: On the Shoulders of Giants.
A Conversation with Mari Borstlap
Marí Borstlap is a theatre director, writer and designer. Following a successful run at the Vrystaat Arts Festival earlier this year, her most recent directorial endeavour, Winterboom, begins performances at Aardklop on October 3rd. We sat down to chat about the show and her perception on the current climate for female theatremakers.
To read this conversation in Afrikaans please click here. Continue reading