Kimmy Skota is a world-renowned opera singer, best known for her performances with acclaimed Dutch violinist Andre Rieu, which led to her touring and performing around the globe. She has won several awards, including at the SAMRO International Singing Competition in 2008. Her opera repertoire includes Gilda in Rigoletto, Tatjana in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Sophie in Werther, Kristine in Miss Julie, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte and Papagena in The Magic Flute. Her oratorio work includes The Messiah and The Creation. She also performed with Richard Cock in his Starlight Concert and Night at the Proms and has worked with internationally-renowned conductors including Kamal Khan and Sebastian Lang-Lessing. On October 22nd and 23rd, Kimmy will be performing in Cantiamo – Mzansi Opera Celebration, a performance which will reopen the Joburg Theatre, as well as being streamed online.
A Conversation with Siphokazi Jonas
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.
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 Chicago. Continue 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
A Conversation with Toni Jean Erasmus
Toni Jean Erasmus is an actress, singer and stunt performer. After completing her degree at Pretoria Technikon and spending a few years working professionally, she set off to study in the UK. Among her training, she branched out into some new sports and discovered that stunts could be a legitimate job. She added new levels to her training by attending film action courses through the British Action Academy. Upon returning to Cape Town, she was cast as Sister Mary Robert in the South African premiere of Sister Act the Musical. It was on moving to Cape Town that her focus moved more towards film and television, returning to Joburg once more to perform in Saturday Night Fever at the State Theatre. She has slowly built up her stunt and acting resume in a variety of international TV shows and movies filmed in Cape Town; from epic zombie deaths in Resident Evil and Maze Runner to reenactment crime shows, to the lead bad guy in the upcoming movie Camp Getaway.
A Conversation with Ilse Klink
Ilse Klink is an award-winning actor, singer and television personality. She is best known for the role of Vanessa Booysens on the daily soap, Isidingo. Her stage credits include Mamma Mia!, Rent, Chicago, Show Boat, Menopause -The Musical, Kristalvlakte, Scorched and Caeser, to name a few. She has graced South African television screens by appearing in Roer Jou Voete, iNkaba, 7de Laan and Broken Vows. Her movie credits include Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story, Cold Harbour, Dis ek, Anna and Stroomop for which she was recently awarded a 2019 SAFTA Golden Horn for Best Supporting Actress. Ilse is currently treading the boards as Mama Morton in Chicago, a role she has returned to for the third time, a decade after she played it last. Continue reading
A Conversation with Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni
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.
A Conversation with Gina Shmukler
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.
A Conversation with Kim Louis
Kim Louis made her professional debut at 17 years old in David Kramer and Taliep Petersen’s musical Poison. She then went on to star in Klop–Klop at the Baxter Theatre which celebrated the 10-year partnership between the two writer/composers. Following that, Kim reunited with David Kramer and Taliep Peterson once more when she was cast as Lucy Dixon in their hit musical, Kat and the Kings at the Baxter Theatre. The production received international attention and later went on to be performed on the West End and Broadway. Following her time on Broadway, Kim returned home and focused her attention on starting a family. She continued to feed her theatrical soul by performing at the Milnerton Playhouse Amateur Dramatic Society. Not long after joining, she won best female lead in the musical tribute to Carole King. Today, she is also a council member on the board of the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha and recently launched Centre Stage Vocal & Performance Coaching. After a 20 year hiatus, Kim is back on the professional stage starring as Dinah in David Kramer’s brand new musical, Langarm, which runs at the Fugard Theatre.
A Conversation with Claire Taylor
Claire Taylor is an actor, singer, dancer and voice artist. Her select credits include West Side Story, Rock of Ages (Naledi nomination), Dirty Dancing, Sunset Boulevard and Cabaret, for which she was nominated for a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award. She has worked in theatres and countries all over the world including Australia, Italy, China and the USA. She has also featured on various local and international voice campaigns. Claire is the founder and director of a promotional and events staffing agency, and experiential entertainment company, Promotiv, which she launched in January 2018. She is currently starring as Mrs Wormwood in the South African premiere of Matilda. Continue reading