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.
Didintle Khunou is an award-winning screen actor, theatre performer, voice actor and session vocalist. Best known for her portrayal of one of the most coveted roles in musical theatre, Celie, in the Grammy, Tony and Naledi Award-winning musical, The Color Purple directed by award-winning director Janice Honeyman at the Joburg Theatre. Didintle was honoured with the Naledi Award as well as the Broadway World Online Award for her performance as Celie. She played Yerma in an adaptation of Yerma, directed by Rajesh Gopie and was also seen in Joburg Theatre’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s epic play, The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Didintle has had numerous television appearances including Mamello, Single Galz and The Throne. She is currently starring as Janet in the South African tour of The Rocky Horror Show.
Claudine Ullman is an actress, improviser, stand-up comedian, public speaker, facilitator, and the founder and managing director of the Jittery Citizens. Having completed her Bachelor’s of Arts at Wits University, Claudine travelled widely, refining her craft at some of the top international performance schools. In 2012, she formed The Jittery Citizens Improvised Comedy Troupe, performing alongside South Africa’s top theatre/comedic talent. The Jittery Citizens are now considered to be Johannesburg’s premiere Improvisation troupe and have performed to packed houses in various venues across South Africa. Claudine is also an established theatre creator and performer, having toured with her one-woman show Curled Up in 2011, as well as having recently completed a successful run at the Grahamstown Arts Festival in Wretched. In 2019, she debuted her one-woman show Artificially Infeminated, which has since gone on to tour nationally and internationally. She also makes up one-third of The Thunderbirds comedy trio.
Fiona Ramsay is one of South Africa’s leading actresses, working locally and overseas. A doyenne of the South African performing arts industry, over the course of 40 years her award-winning professional career has successfully spanned across film, television and theatre. She is also a lecturer at Wits University and is the founder of Speakeasy Vocal Academy where she specialises as a dialogue and dialect coach and runs vocal empowerment workshops. She is currently starring as Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie at the Artscape Arena. Continue reading
Antoinette Louw is a multiple award-winning stage and screen actress and writer. She has appeared in leading roles on South Africa’s most popular TV series including 7de Laan and Binnelanders. Her theatre credits include Women of Troy, The Women who Cooked her Husband which she produced and directed, Rudely Stamped, Engele Soner Vlerke, Die Trommel, Die Vagina Monoloë, Afspraak, Dis ek, Anna and ‘night Mother which she also adapted into its Afrikaans translation Nag ma. In 2014 she won a SAFTA award for her role in Deon Meyer’s Die Laaste Tango as well as a nomination for Best Actress in the Afrikaans short film Totsiens, Pa. Antoinette also starred in the Afrikaans feature film ‘n Man Soos My Pa. Her recent film credits include the multi-award-winning films Axis Mundi, Sew the winter to my skin, An Act of Defiance and Nul is nie niks nie. She is currently appearing on screens as Sara in the film adaptation of the beloved Afrikaans folktale Die verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer. Continue reading
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
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.
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