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.
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
Lukhanyiso Skosana is an actress, performance artist, vocalist and theatre-maker. Her performing credits include Love Like Blue directed by Puleng Lange-Stewart, Khanyisile Mbongwa’s performance art piece kuDanger, Ndawo directed and written by Thapelo Tharaga and Nguvu Ya Mbegu directed by Mandla Mbothwe. To continue her collaborations with womxn of colour, she was in the dance piece Bana Ba Mobu choreographed by Tshegofatso Mabutla. She is in the continuous process of touring and reworking Womb Of Fire, a production written and performed by Rehane Abrahams and directed by Dr Sara Matchett for which she was recently awarded a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best Original Music Score. She continued her longtime collaboration with The MotherTongue Project by performing in their performance piece Walk in India at the ITFOK festival, at the National Arts Festival in 2018 and at Woordfees 2019. She recently choreographed her debut dance piece entitled Zinyile i’Queers and also participated in Body Politics in a durational Butoh piece titled UMGOWO. In 2018, Lukhanyiso made her directorial as well as playwriting debut with her graduation piece Inguquko.
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.
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.
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.
Lee-Ann van Rooi is an actor, educator, producer and director. This year marks Lee-Ann’s silver jubilee in the South African professional entertainment industry. With numerous awards, nominations and credits stretching over the various mediums of Film, TV, Stage and Radio, both locally and internationally, this UCT graduate’s interests and skills are wide-ranging, innovative and resourceful. A keen storyteller, puppeteer, teacher, mentor, writer, producer and director, she is particularly interested in growing and creatively educating audiences and the entertainment industry in a responsible and fair way. Lee-Ann has recently been nominated for two awards at this year’s upcoming Fiëstas Awards. She is nominated as Best Actress for her work in Ingrid Winterbach’s Ons is almal Freaks Hier and for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Chase Rhys’ Kinnes. She is currently gearing up to star as The Duchess of York in Richard III which will begin performances at Maynardville open-air theatre in February.
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.
Thembela Madliki is a theatre-maker and director. Her credits include Galela, My Boetie is ‘n Danser, Bayephi and Nyanga. She has showcased work at The National Arts Festival, The Cape Town Fringe Festival and The KKNK. Earlier this year, she was named as one of the recipients of Theatre Arts Admin Collective’s Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary. Her bursary piece, Where She Walked will debut at Theatre Arts Admin from October 28th until November 3rd.