Kimmy Skota is a world-renowned opera singer, best known for her performances with acclaimed Dutch violinist Andre Rieu, which led to her touring and performing around the globe. She has won several awards, including at the SAMRO International Singing Competition in 2008. Her opera repertoire includes Gilda in Rigoletto, Tatjana in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Sophie in Werther, Kristine in Miss Julie, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte and Papagena in The Magic Flute. Her oratorio work includes The Messiah and The Creation. She also performed with Richard Cock in his Starlight Concert and Night at the Proms and has worked with internationally-renowned conductors including Kamal Khan and Sebastian Lang-Lessing. On October 22nd and 23rd, Kimmy will be performing in Cantiamo – Mzansi Opera Celebration, a performance which will reopen the Joburg Theatre, as well as being streamed online.
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.
Tankiso Mamabolo is an award-winning actor, theatre-maker and singer. Since our conversation with Tankiso in 2017, she has gone on to be nominated for a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for her performance in Aunty Merle the musical and released her debut album Freedom Hurts Sometimes. Her one-woman show, Tankiso Live, The Audacity to Be, which enjoyed two successful runs at the Baxter Theatre in 2019, is the debut production to launch on the recently created South African Theatre on Demand, a new online platform which brings original filmed theatre productions to your screen.
Click here to read our conversation with Tankiso from 2017
Sue Diepeveen is an actor, theatre practitioner and the owner of The Drama Factory in Somerset West. Her new show, So You Want To Be A Trophy Wife? is available to stream as part of this year’s virtual National Arts Festival. As the owner of The Drama Factory, Sue is heavily involved in mentoring programmes for young actors and is committed to ensuring a safe and affordable space for new work to see the light of day. In the midst of the national lockdown, Sue has spent the last few months creating her show while also dealing with the unfortunate impact of the global pandemic on her theatre.
In December 2017, we sat down with actress, singer and playwright Chantal Stanfield to chat about her one-woman show, From Koe’siestes To Kneidlach, which was about to debut at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town following a successful run at Theatre On The Square in Johannesburg. Fast forward to 2020 and a global pandemic that has left theatres around the world dark. In response to this, Chantal has released a pre-recorded version of the show that audience members can stream to their homes, in the hopes of raising funds for the two theatres that From Koe’siestes To Kneidlach called home.
Click here to read our conversation with Chantal from 2017.
Theresa Ryan – van Graan is a film producer. She heads up Penzance Films in conjunction with Oliver Hermanus and spent seven years as Head of Productions at Moonlighting Films. During this time, she was SA Production Executive on Season 4 of Homeland and actively involved in the servicing and pre-production of the films Invictus, Safe House, The Giver and Mad Max: Fury Road, amongst others. In addition to working with Oliver Hermanus on his previous film The Endless River, she is the co-producer of his latest film Moffie, which arrives in local cinemas on March 13th 2020.
Prue Leith has made a name for herself internationally as a chef, restaurateur, author and entrepreneur. She founded the Prue Leith Chefs Academy in Centurion, which has trained many of South Africa’s top chefs. Internationally, she is well known for her role as a judge on The Great British Bake Off. She has published 14 cookbooks, a memoir, Relish and eight novels. Prue Leith’s career has included her own restaurants, catering and cookery school businesses. Prue has had a deep involvement with education and the arts: she chaired the first of the companies charged with turning around failing state schools and was Chair of the School Food Trust, responsible for the improvement of school food and food education. She started and led the campaign for contemporary sculpture to be exhibited on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. She has been active in many charities and is the Chancellor of Queen Margaret University. She is an advisor for the Government’s Hospital Food Review. Among her awards she has a CBE, 12 honorary degrees or fellowships from UK universities, the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the year, and her restaurant, Leith’s, won a Michelin star. Prue’s latest cookbook The Vegetarian Kitchen, which she wrote with her niece Peta Leith, will be released in March 2020.
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.