Prue Leith has made a name for herself internationally as a chef, restaurateur, author and entrepreneur. She founded the Prue Leith Chefs Academy in Centurion, which has trained many of South Africa’s top chefs. Internationally, she is well known for her role as a judge on The Great British Bake Off. She has published 14 cookbooks, a memoir, Relish and eight novels. Prue Leith’s career has included her own restaurants, catering and cookery school businesses. Prue has had a deep involvement with education and the arts: she chaired the first of the companies charged with turning around failing state schools and was Chair of the School Food Trust, responsible for the improvement of school food and food education. She started and led the campaign for contemporary sculpture to be exhibited on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. She has been active in many charities and is the Chancellor of Queen Margaret University. She is an advisor for the Government’s Hospital Food Review. Among her awards she has a CBE, 12 honorary degrees or fellowships from UK universities, the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the year, and her restaurant, Leith’s, won a Michelin star. Prue’s latest cookbook The Vegetarian Kitchen, which she wrote with her niece Peta Leith, will be released in March 2020.
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.
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
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 Festival. Continue reading
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.
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.
In October 2018, Debbie Turner was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Cape Town City Ballet. She founded the Cape Academy of Performing Arts in 1985 and went on to become the founding Artistic Director of the Cape Dance Company in 1995. Recently, she sat on the prestigious panel of judges for the inaugural 2018 season of M-Net’s Dancing With The Stars SA. She has won many awards for her choreography including the FNB Vita Award, and a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival for Cape Dance Company’s Blue. In addition, the school received a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival for Bittersweet in 2013, which resulted in the production of Between The Lines the following year on the Arena Programme and at the inaugural Cape Town Fringe Festival. Debbie is committed to restoring, revitalising and aligning South African dance with the 21st Century global trends of performance through sustainable, multi-pronged approach to performance excellence, diverse repertory relevant to current times, dance education, and professional development of dancers while preserving the traditions of classical ballet and academic dance in general.
Lungiswa Plaatjies is a musician, singer and composer. Born and raised in Langa Township in Cape Town, she started singing at the age of eight years old before becoming the lead vocalist of Amampondo. She has toured extensively around the world and released her first solo album, Lungiswa, in 2000. After spending time digging deeper into the foundation stones of African music and Xhosa dance (Umxhentso), Lungiswa released her second solo album, Unonkala produced by Don Laka. In 2002, she was nominated for Best Newcomer and Best Female Vocalist at the SAMA awards and was also nominated for two Kora awards. Since 2015, she has been working with Bos Theatre Productions from The Netherlands on an annual musical show called South African Road Trip. Her select theatre credits include; Heart of Redness, The Tempest for the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Flower of Shembe. Lungiswa can currently be seen on stage as the featured musician in Kunene and the King at the Fugard Theatre.
Naledi Majola is an actor, performance-maker and sound designer. In 2018, she was seen on stage in Tara Notcutt’s historic all-female production of The Taming of the Shrew and in Stream, a multimedia performance work led by Jennifer Steyn at the Baxter Theatre. She makes her feature film debut later this year in The Banana Splits. Her performance work, Where is the black samurai? debuted at Arcade, a durational live art platform curated by Gavin Krastin, and was most recently performed at the 2018 ICA Live Art Festival. Naledi also designs sound for performance, having recently done so for her own work, as well as AMES, written and directed by Andi Colombo in 2018 and the upcoming production of Tales from the Garden written by Ameera Conrad, which will run at the Baxter Theatre’s Masambe Theatre followed by a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this year.
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.