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.
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 Theatre. She 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.
Tessa Denton is an actor, director, choreographer and designer. She was recently appointed to Gate69’s art department where she is tasked with creating the obscure, creative, daring and over the top wigs, headpieces, earrings and accessories. Over the years, she has created many looks for a variety of clients, whether it be with make-up, body paint, dress setting, sets, decor, props, wigs, accessories or even just conceptualising ideas events. As an actor, some of her TV credits include; Die Boekklub, Getroud met Rugby, Donkerland, Binnelanders, 7de Laan and Generations. Select theatre credits include; Mis, Altyd in my drome, The Rocky Horror Show, Grease, The Full Monty and Lady Macbeth in the adult pantomime Macbeth. Later this year she’ll be seen on stage in Mis in Johannesburg followed by two TV appearances in Fynskrif and Sara se Geheim. Currently, her wig designs can be seen on stage at Gate69 in their latest show, Non-Specific.
Christelle Dreyer is a dancer, graphic designer and performer. At a young age, she discovered her love and passion for dance. Christelle uses her unique body movements within dance styles varying from Contemporary dance to Ballroom and Latin dancing. As a Ballroom and Latin Dancer, she won numerous competitions. In 2007 she won first place in both Ballroom and Latin at the Holland World Championships. In working for Remix Dance Company, Christelle taught children as part of the Remix Integrated Dance Project with Nicola Elliott and Malcolm Black. In 2014, she performed as part of the UNI Global Union Women’s Conference. Partaking in the Axis Dance Company Intensive, Christelle found herself dancing and performing among dancers from across the world. Most recently she was seen acting in Marat/Sade directed by Jaco Bouwer at the Baxter Theatre. In 2017, she received the Cultural Affairs Award from the Western Cape Government for Contribution By Person With Disability To The Arts.
Puleng Lange-Stewart is a writer, playwright, filmmaker, director, designer and illustrator. In 2016, she was one of three shortlisted writers in the national PEN student writing competition. Her writing has appeared in the 2017 African Literature curriculum at UCT. Her first independent short film, written and directed with Jannous Aukema, Until the Silence Comes, was selected for the 2017 Cape Town International Film Festival and was nominated for an audience award at the Shnit International Short Film Festival. Her primary focus is in interdisciplinary performance and multimedia integration. As a queer, feminist, artist and mother of colour, she hopes to find ways to explore and question the practices and hierarchies that continue to erode human dignity and self-determinacy for so many within the context of South Africa and Africa as a whole. Her work is deeply embedded in a decolonial framework which hopes to elevate and recentre African bodies and voices as a response to its violent historical negation. During the 2018 Open Book Festival, Puleng will appear on a panel entitled Moving Pictures and Borders. Continue reading
Sisters Lamees and Widaad Albertus have become a force to be reckoned within the theatre industry. Currently working at The Fugard Theatre, Lamees holds the position of Theatre Manager and Associate Producer while Widaad not only holds the title of Wardrobe Supervisor and Production Assistant, but is currently also juggling the task of working as lead Costume Designer on several of the Fugard Theatre’s most anticipated upcoming shows including The Demon Bride and Significant Other. While most of their work tends to happen behind the scenes and away from the spotlight, Lamees recently had her work recognised by being featured in the Mail & Guardian’s 2017 Book of South African Women: On the Shoulders of Giants.
Marí Borstlap is a theatre director, writer and designer. Following a successful run at the Vrystaat Arts Festival earlier this year, her most recent directorial endeavour, Winterboom, begins performances at Aardklop on October 3rd. We sat down to chat about the show and her perception on the current climate for female theatremakers.
Nicola Date is a Cape Town based actress, designer and arts manager. Currently she holds the position of theatre manager of The Masque Theatre. A jack of all trades, Nicola is also the writer of her one-woman show The Worst Auditioner in the World which had a successful run at The Alexander Bar last year. Continue reading