Zoey Black is a transgender woman of colour living in Cape Town. She is trans rights activist, actress, freelance writer and digital content creator. She is employed with Gender Dynamix, a non-profit organisation with a focus on championing human rights for trans and gender diverse persons and communities in Southern Africa. Zoey is the organisation’s Legal and Education Advocacy Officer and leads the legal, policy and educational reform initiatives and projects. In her personal capacity, Zoey publicly advocates for trans rights and visibility, and broadens the scope of trans representation and narratives through her social media and online platforms, including her recently launched Youtube channel. Her channel acts as a resource in providing accessible information on trans specific issues, including accessing hormone replacement therapy, and changing one’s name and gender marker at the Department of Home Affairs. Working in tandem with her YouTube channel, Zoey runs a blog, which focuses on sharing her personal experiences and narrative as a transgender woman, including issues around discrimination and violence, mental health and wellness, and acceptance and tolerance. In addition, Zoey is studying toward a Bachelor of Laws, with intensions to enhance her capacity to further assist vulnerable persons and communities in accessing their rights, as well as contributing to the development of policy and legislation which will enhance, promote and protect the rights of marginalised members of society.
Fiona Gordon is the newly appointed General Manager of Cape Town City Ballet. As a respected, experienced arts manager, she has worked across a broad range of projects, festivals and cultural agencies, assisting businesses and organisations to “make things happen.” Since 2014, she has been the Managing Director of Creative Fix, developing strategies and providing support to clients in the cultural, creative and entrepreneurial sectors. Highlights of her career include working with organisations such as the National Arts Festival, the South African pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the South African Cultural Observatory, Hatch Ideas UK, The Arts and Culture Trust, UJ Arts & Culture, the National School of the Arts, Jade Bowers Design & Management and a number of industry-specific conferences.
Elana Brundyn is currently the CEO of Norval Foundation in Cape Town. She has been instrumental in launching two of Africa’s most prominent museums, namely Zeitz MOCAA and Norval Foundation. Brundyn has contributed to the cultural ecosystem in Africa as a museum director, consultant, advisor to corporates, family and school collections, charity art auctions and as a commercial gallerist. With a strong focus on philanthropic projects and fundraiser art projects and events.
Recently, Norval Foundation has teamed up with Cape Town City Ballet to collaborate on a short film entitled Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture, which celebrates the work of William Kentridge. The film is currently available to stream.
Primrose Mrwebi is a writer, poet and performer. She has written and edited for titles such as Cosmopolitan, Fairlady, Bona, Abafazi, Student Life and many others. She has directed and performed in a number of poetry productions and has facilitated writing workshops at several festivals. She is a frequent contributor to Book Week for Young Readers at Franschhoek Literary Festival as well as a facilitator at the Northern Cape Writers Festival. Primrose is a contributor to Black Tax, edited by Niq Mhlongo. She is the director of the PrimPoetry Foundation and a participating author in this year’s Open Book Festival. Continue reading
During our conversation with storyteller Buhle Ngaba in 2017, she spoke about winning the Brett Goldin Bursary and creating her show, Swan Song during her time at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Now, almost three years later and after a successful developmental and award-winning run at the Klein Karoo National Festival in 2017, Swan Song has its eyes firmly focused on Vrystaat Kunstefees. Prior to its run, Buhle has launched Going For A Song, an art auction with a difference, making a difference to make art accessible. At the auction which will take place at the Book Lounge on July 1st, bidders will raise funds to get Swan Song on stage in front of a wider audience. On the night, it’ll be chosen at random and announced to guests which items will be up for auction – sold, to the highest bidder! – and which will be raffled. This split is symbolic of what Buhle hopes to do with Swan Song, and her wider body of work: to democratise art in a way that allows accessible participation and an easy buy-in to art that maintains its value. Those purchasing ‘tickets’ will do so at a fixed cost and post them into the “bidding box” beside each artwork to stand a chance to make it their own. In celebration of the upcoming auction, Buhle writes about the evolution of Swan Song. Continue reading
In October 2018, Debbie Turner was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Cape Town City Ballet. She founded the Cape Academy of Performing Arts in 1985 and went on to become the founding Artistic Director of the Cape Dance Company in 1995. Recently, she sat on the prestigious panel of judges for the inaugural 2018 season of M-Net’s Dancing With The Stars SA. She has won many awards for her choreography including the FNB Vita Award, and a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival for Cape Dance Company’s Blue. In addition, the school received a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival for Bittersweet in 2013, which resulted in the production of Between The Lines the following year on the Arena Programme and at the inaugural Cape Town Fringe Festival. Debbie is committed to restoring, revitalising and aligning South African dance with the 21st Century global trends of performance through sustainable, multi-pronged approach to performance excellence, diverse repertory relevant to current times, dance education, and professional development of dancers while preserving the traditions of classical ballet and academic dance in general.
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
Barbara Mathers is an arts administrator, performing arts producer and events coordinator. Since 1998 she has managed Third World Bunfight, producing most of their productions and tours locally and internationally. She has produced events including the Performing Arts Network of South Africa competition of One Act Plays, the Festival of White Light on the Spier Estate from 2009 to 2011 and Talking Heads for Infecting the City Festival. She managed The Spier Arts Festivals for 2008 including the Poetry Exchange on the Spier Estate and the Performing Arts & Music Festivals presented in inner city venues of Cape Town. We sat down to chat about her involvement in Third World Bunfight as well as their latest production, Samson, which is heading to US Woordfees 2019.
Yvette Hardie is a theatre director, producer, educator and advocate, focusing on theatre for young audiences. She initiated the launch of ASSITEJ SA in 2007 and leads the organisation as Director. She is currently serving her third term as President of the international ASSITEJ, which networks across 100 countries. In 2017, she was responsible for hosting the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress & Performing Arts Festival, Cradle of Creativity, for the first time in Africa. She produced the award-winning Colonnades Theatre Lab production, Truth in Translation, seen by 55 000 people worldwide. For her own company, FreeVoice Productions, she produces national and international tours of Sindiwe Magona’s Mother to Mother. Her directing credits include Suzanne Lebeau’s The Ogreling and Mike van Graan’s Is it because I’m Jack? She is valued for her work in Arts Education, having written national curricula and textbooks for Dramatic/Creative Arts. Recently, she was awarded the Mickey Miner Award for Lifetime Achievement from IPAY for her contribution to theatre for young audiences locally and globally.
Nicolette Moses is the Associate Producer and Planning Manager for the Baxter Theatre, a position she has held since 2010. She is a trained classical ballet and contemporary dancer who graduated from the UCT School of Dance. Following a sojourn abroad, Nicolette joined the Jazzart Dance Theatre, which she managed before joining CAPAB as head of the Audience Development department. In the transition from CAPAB to Artscape, Nicolette worked as Project Manager and then Artistic Manager until 2001. During her time at Artscape, she also worked extensively with the Nederlands Dance Theater. She was appointed as Project Manager at the Baxter Theatre Centre in 2003, and shortly thereafter started heading up the annual Baxter Dance Festival. Now in its 14th year, we sat down with Nicolette to chat about this year’s festival.