A Conversation with Claudine Ullman

Claudine Ullman is an actress, improviser, stand-up comedian, public speaker, facilitator, and the founder and managing director of the Jittery Citizens. Having completed her Bachelor’s of Arts at Wits University, Claudine travelled widely, refining her craft at some of the top international performance schools. In 2012, she formed The Jittery Citizens Improvised Comedy Troupe, performing alongside South Africa’s top theatre/comedic talent. The Jittery Citizens are now considered to be Johannesburg’s premiere Improvisation troupe and have performed to packed houses in various venues across South Africa. Claudine is also an established theatre creator and performer, having toured with her one-woman show Curled Up in 2011, as well as having recently completed a successful run at the Grahamstown Arts Festival in Wretched. In 2019, she debuted her one-woman show Artificially Infeminated, which has since gone on to tour nationally and internationally. She also makes up one-third of The Thunderbirds comedy trio. 

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A Conversation with Nicola Hanekom

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. 

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A Conversation with Fiona Ramsay

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 ArenaContinue reading

A Conversation with Antoinette Louw

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 BeerContinue reading

A Conversation with Liezl de Kock

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.

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A Conversation with Simoné Benjamin

Simoné Benjamin is a stage, screen and radio actress and the Corporate Affairs Specialist at Distell. With an Instagram handle aptly named Corporate Actress SA, her work with Distell sees her merging the corporate and arts sectors as she initiates, manages and supports various arts projects including the Distell National Playwright Competition, the Technical Training Programme at Artscape, the Amazink Live programme as part of Woordfees and the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, to name a few. As a performer, she has featured as the titular character in the radio drama Die Verdwyning van Mina Afrika as well as it’s sequel Die Tuiskoms van Mina Afrika. Simoné was most recently seen on screen in the short film Janneman, which debuted at this year’s Silwerskermfees Continue reading

A Conversation with Carin Bester

Carin Bester is a performance artist, actress, set designer and art director who has been working in the film, television and theatre industry for the past 10 years. In 2015, Carin performed her first performance art piece Verlies. She was drawn to performance art because of its immediacy and honesty. She views it as a medium in which she can express herself freely as she interrogates issues of social importance effectively. In 2017, she did My Body My Life, a performance installation which took the statistics of gender-based violence in South Africa directly to the viewer. Since then she has done various other pieces about gender-based violence in South Africa. Currently, she is experimenting with documentation of performance elements to create print and video art. A piece called Dress of Remembrance, which was worn on August 1st 2018 as part of the #TheTotalshutdown March against gender-based violence to Parliament, has been included in an exhibition at the Iziko Slave Lodge Museum. Cape Town audiences recently saw Carin’s set design featured in Figure of 8 Dance Collective’s Wag/Waiting which debuted at the Baxter TheatreShe will be performing a new piece Till Death Do Us Part this August as part of the Vavasati International Women’s Festival at The State Theatre in Pretoria.

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A Conversation with Amra-Faye Wright

Amra-Faye Wright is an award-winning actress best known for portraying Velma Kelly in Chicago the Musical, both on Broadway, London’s West End and in international tours. She trained extensively as a classical and jazz dancer and began her career performing in the Spectacular Musical Revues at Sun City. She spent the following years developing her skills in many musical genres and obtained a diploma in Contemporary Music at Allenby College in Johannesburg, which has resulted in a versatile and eclectic performance style. After starring in Viva Sun City at Sun City Theatre, Amra-Faye left for Monte Carlo where she performed as lead artist in the world famous Cabaret du Casino for two years. Her gift for story-telling led her to write, and perform her first one-woman revue, Rouge Pulp, which enjoyed a sellout season and prompted her to write Drinks on Me and It’s Not Where I Start. In 2005, she was awarded the Naledi Theatre Award and the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for her performance in the South African production of ChicagoContinue reading

A Conversation with Shelley Lothian

Shelley Lothian is an award-winning choreographer, director, singer, actress and dancer. Her performance credits include The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Boys in the Photograph, Mamma Mia, We Will Rock You, Show Boat and Cabaret. She directed Chef, Rattle and Roll; The Purr Factory and Maybe Baby It’s You. She served as Resident Director on Janice Honeyman’s Show Boat, Matthew Wild’s Cabaret and West Side Story; David Kramer’s Orpheus in Africa and District Six- Kanala, and most recently King Kong with Jonathan Munby at the Fugard Theatre. She was also Associate Director on the international musical Tiger Bay. She has choreographed various productions including The King and I, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, District Six- Kanala and Sneeuwitjie. Shelley’s other choreographic credits include My Fair Lady; Chef, Rattle and Roll and Liefling – all of which received Naledi Theatre Award nominations, as well as Fiddler on the Roof and The Pirates of Penzance which both won the Naledi Theatre Award for Best Original Choreography. She is currently starring in the Fugard Theatre’s production of Kinky Boots where she also serves as Resident Director.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Swan Song Takes Flight

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