Olivia Fischer is an award-winning playwright, director and producer. After graduating with her degree in theatre and performance, specialising in theatre-making from the University of Cape Town, Olivia premiered Still at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Los Angeles, CA. Still was awarded five Hollywood Fringe awards including Tvolution’s Best International Show and the Conversation Creation award. In 2018, Olivia opened a production company called LIV Studios, a company that aims to develop female-identifying playwrights and theatre-makers. Olivia is a published writer: her autobiographical monologue Coming For You was recently published in the Market Laboratory’s anthology Between the Pillar and the Post: an anthology of South African monologues and scenes. Her other theatre credits include writing and directing an adaptation of Sindiwe Magona’s The Cruel King Lives! called Thandiwe: The Loved One and directed Duncan MacMillan’s Lungs. Her main focus as she continues to grow as a theatre-maker is telling stories of womxn: their resilience, their strength but above all, their undeniable capacity to love.
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
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.
Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni is a South African playwright, theatre director and performer. With a Bachelor of the Arts in Political Science, Philosophy and Dramatic Arts from Rhodes University and a Bachelor of the Arts (Hons) in Directing for Stage, Writing for Film and Avant-garde Film from the University of Cape Town, she attempts to make provocative work that deals with themes of violence, sexuality, race and history within a contemporary South African setting. As a playwright and director, her debut play, Sainthood has received a Standard Bank Ovation Award and a Fleur du Cap nomination and is the subject of her TEDxYouth Cape Town Talk, ‘Another Conversation for the Dinner Table?’. Following a successful run at the National Arts Festival and at Theatre Arts Admin Collective, Sainthood makes its way to the Baxter Theatre for a limited engagement.
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.
Kate Pinchuck is an actor, writer and stand-up comedian. Her credits include Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa! at Artscape, the critically acclaimed all-female Taming of the Shrew at Maynardville directed by Tara Notcutt and the Ovation Award winning Gaslight at the National Arts Festival Fringe directed by Laine Butler. Kate has been rising up in the comedy scene in Cape Town and Joburg. She was featured in the 2017 Next Generation Showcase at Grand West, was a semi-finalist in the 2017 Savanna Show Us Your Apples competition and performed in the televised 2018 Comics Choice Awards Newcomer Showcase at the Soweto Theatre. She has performed numerous times at the National Arts Festival Fringe in productions such as With/Hold, Jack & Jill which she wrote and Lexi Meier’s Standard Bank Ovation Award-winning immersive installation, Down to a sunless sea. Following its award-winning run at the National Arts Festival, her one-woman show, Medusa Incarnate will make its Cape Town debut at the Alexander Bar in September. Continue reading
Puleng Lange-Stewart is a writer, playwright, filmmaker, director, designer and illustrator. In 2016, she was one of three shortlisted writers in the national PEN student writing competition. Her writing has appeared in the 2017 African Literature curriculum at UCT. Her first independent short film, written and directed with Jannous Aukema, Until the Silence Comes, was selected for the 2017 Cape Town International Film Festival and was nominated for an audience award at the Shnit International Short Film Festival. Her primary focus is in interdisciplinary performance and multimedia integration. As a queer, feminist, artist and mother of colour, she hopes to find ways to explore and question the practices and hierarchies that continue to erode human dignity and self-determinacy for so many within the context of South Africa and Africa as a whole. Her work is deeply embedded in a decolonial framework which hopes to elevate and recentre African bodies and voices as a response to its violent historical negation. During the 2018 Open Book Festival, Puleng will appear on a panel entitled Moving Pictures and Borders. Continue reading
Genna Gardini is a writer and teacher. She is the author of Matric Rage, which was published in 2014 by uHlanga Press. In 2012, she was awarded the DALRO New Coin Poetry prize and was chosen as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2013. She is also the co-founder of Horses’ Heads Productions and has had several of her plays produced at the National Arts Festival including WinterSweet and Scrape, both of which went on to win Standard Bank Ovation Awards. In addition, she also works as the poetry editor of Prufrock Magazine, a journal in which her own work has featured.
Chantal Stanfield is an actress and singer who has featured in a number of South Africa’s leading television and stage productions. In the last year, she has charmed South African audiences by featuring on local Television soap operas Sewende Laan and Getroud met Rugby. After completing a run in Rock of Ages at the Lyric Theatre, her one-woman self-written show From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach makes its Cape Town debut at the Baxter Theatre following a successful Joburg engagement. We sat down at the Baxter to chat about her career, being labeled a “Soap Star” and finding the courage to create her own work.
Leanetse Seekoe is a performer and theatre-maker. Upon graduating from UCT’s Drama department in 2014, Leanetse was nominated for a Fleur du Cap award in the Most Promising Student category. Recently, Leanetse wrote 4 cups 1 tbsp while she pursued her Masters of Arts in English and Comparative Literature. In 2017, she performed her debut one woman play, 4 cups 1 tbsp at The Market Theatre Laboratory and The Plat4orm in Johannesburg, and Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Cape Town. Continue reading