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.
Rushney Ferguson is a triple threat performer from Cape Town having completed her advanced I.S.T.D training in Modern, Tap, Ballet, Jazz and Musical Theatre, including Associate qualifications, at the Waterfront Theatre School. Her theatre career started with David Kramer’s District Six: Kanala, Amper Famous and Langarm for which she received a Fleur du Cap nomination. Rushney also Dance Captained and starred in the revival of King Kong: Legend of a Boxer at The Fugard Theatre. Choreographically, she works regularly behind the scenes with many local artists like Emo Adams: Brother Love 2, Emo Celebrates 30 Years in Music and the live finale of Maak My Famous. She recently appeared as Juanita in David Kramer’s new musical Danger in the Dark which returns to the Baxter Theatre in March 2020. She is currently starring as Abigail in Aunty Merle: It’s a Girl!, the highly anticipated sequel based on Marc Lottering’s beloved character, Aunty Merle. Continue reading
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.
Nicola Hanekom has been a freelance actress, director and writer for the past twenty years. Her theatre work as writer/director includes a series of site-specific productions; Betésda, Lot, Babbel and Land van Skedels. As a writer and performer, Nicola created Trippie, and her self-penned one-woman show Hol/Running on Empty. These together with her latest play In glas have garnered twelve Kanna awards, eleven Fiësta awards, two ATKV writing awards and one Aartvark award. Nicola was also awarded the Eugène Marais Prize for her collection of plays Die pad byster. She has written and directed two short films, Trippie and Unspoken. Her short, Trippie won two Silwerskermfees awards. Cut-Out Girls is her first feature film and arrives in local cinemas on November 22nd.
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
Alexis Petersen is a UCT Performance Diploma Graduate who majored in Western Classical Voice. She has performed on various stages both nationally and internationally. Alexis has performed in several musical theatre productions including Calling Us Home, The Little Mermaid and David Kramer’s Langarm. Her opera credits include FOUR:30, Le nozze di Figaro and La traviata. With a strong passion for dance, she has also competed as a ballroom dancer, dancing under the Federation of Dance Sport South Africa. She also features as a vocalist in a unique contemporary trio called Inside Voice. Alexis is currently starring at the Baxter Theatre as Pamela in Danger in the Dark, David Kramer’s re-imagining of the Kramer/Petersen ’90s hit, Poison. 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
Liezl de Kock is an actor, director, theatre-maker and lecturer. She performed the lead role of Janet in the Ovation Award-winning and double Fleur du Cap Theatre Award winner Pictures of You, which was the highest-grossing theatre production on the fringe at the 2009 National Arts Festival. Liezl was also nominated for a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for her role in Rob Murray’s Womb Tide. She performed with Andrew Buckland in Crazy in Love, which received an Ovation Award and the Amsterdam Fringe Fest award for Best International Production. Her performance in Crazy in Love received a Naledi Theatre Award nomination. Her final Master’s production, Piet se Optelgoed won a Silver Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival and was nominated for Best International Production at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival. Earlier this year, she was nominated for a Naledi Theatre Award for her role as Sussie in Reza de Wet’s African Gothic directed by Alby Michaels. She is currently reprising her role in Athol Fugard’s Statements After an Arrest Under The Immorality Act at The Fugard Theatre following its debut run earlier this year at the 2019 Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees.
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
Siphokazi Jonas is a writer, performer, and poet. She has written, produced, and performed in four one-woman poetry shows. She wrote, produced and performed in a multi-genre theatre production, Around the Fire, which was staged at the 2016 Artscape Spiritual Festival and the 2018 Women’s Humanity Festival. Her stage work includes Natalia da Rocha’s Adam Small Festival and Mandla Mbothwe’s Oratorio of a Forgotten Youth. In 2018, she presented her directorial debut, The Widow, as part of Artscape’s New Voices programme. The production returns to the Artscape Arena at the beginning of August 2019. Jonas has been a featured act at numerous poetry sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Her experience with spoken word has led to multiple invitations to judge poetry slam competitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She has also performed with renowned musicians including, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Freshlyground, Pops Mohamed, Dizu Plaatjies and Dave Reynolds. Jonas made history in 2016 as the first African poet to perform at Rhetoric in California. In February 2019 she was also a headline act on the first ever South African national poetry tour, the Fresh Poetry Tour. She was crowned as the first Cape Town Ultimate Slam Champion in 2015 and was the runner-up in the prestigious 2016 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, coming second out of 600 poems submitted nationally. Her work was longlisted again in 2017.