A Conversation with Penny Simpson

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 ChildrenPresent Laughter, Relatively SpeakingShow BoatThe Diary of Anne Frank, Exit the King and Fiddler on the Roof, to name a few. Her most recent theatrical credits include; Blood BrothersSunset BoulevardCabaret 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.

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A Conversation with Rushney Ferguson

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

A Conversation with Didintle Khunou

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 MamelloSingle Galz and The Throne. She is currently starring as Janet in the South African tour of The Rocky Horror Show.
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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 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 Primrose Mrwebi

Primrose Mrwebi is a writer, poet and performer. She has written and edited for titles such as Cosmopolitan, Fairlady, Bona, Abafazi, Student Life and many others. She has directed and performed in a number of poetry productions and has facilitated writing workshops at several festivals. She is a frequent contributor to Book Week for Young Readers at Franschhoek Literary Festival as well as a facilitator at the Northern Cape Writers Festival. Primrose is a contributor to Black Tax, edited by Niq Mhlongo. She is the director of the PrimPoetry Foundation and a participating author in this year’s Open Book FestivalContinue reading

Guest Post: The Chronicles of an Independent Theatre-Maker

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

A Conversation with Kyra Loubser

Kyra Loubser is a Cape Town-based hair and makeup artist, stylist and beauty editor for Kuier Magazine. Initially entering the industry as a hairdresser, Kyra was introduced to the world of television with M-Net working as part of the styling team for the Miss Soweto Pageant. She then went on to be a part of the styling team for the Miss South Africa Pageant, which she considers to be a career-defining moment. Kyra was then approached by Idols winner, Karin Kortje to do her styling, hair and makeup which jumpstarted her career as a stylist, hair and makeup artist and saw her work expanding into theatre. This led to introductions to names such as Alistair Izobell and Kim Engelbrecht. About a year later, she was offered the position as Tracey Lange’s stylist for Bravo! on Kyknet. Kyra also spends her time mentoring and upskilling four ‘Kyra Fairies’ who have shown an interest and passion for the industry. Her work has spanned TV, film and theatre but it’s her latest project, which sees her designing and creating the makeup looks featured in Kinky Boots at the Fugard Theatre, that has everyone buzzing.   Continue reading