A Q&A with Kimmy Skota

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. 

Continue reading

A Q&A with Zoey Black

Zoey Black is a transgender woman of colour living in Cape Town. She is trans rights activist, actress, freelance writer and digital content creator. She is employed with Gender Dynamix, a non-profit organisation with a focus on championing human rights for trans and gender diverse persons and communities in Southern Africa. Zoey is the organisation’s Legal and Education Advocacy Officer and leads the legal, policy and educational reform initiatives and projects. In her personal capacity, Zoey publicly advocates for trans rights and visibility, and broadens the scope of trans representation and narratives through her social media and online platforms, including her recently launched Youtube channel. Her channel acts as a resource in providing accessible information on trans specific issues, including accessing hormone replacement therapy, and changing one’s name and gender marker at the Department of Home Affairs. Working in tandem with her YouTube channel, Zoey runs a blog, which focuses on sharing her personal experiences and narrative as a transgender woman, including issues around discrimination and violence, mental health and wellness, and acceptance and tolerance. In addition, Zoey is studying toward a Bachelor of Laws, with intensions to enhance her capacity to further assist vulnerable persons and communities in accessing their rights, as well as contributing to the development of policy and legislation which will enhance, promote and protect the rights of marginalised members of society.

Read more

A Q&A with Fiona Gordon

Fiona Gordon is the newly appointed General Manager of Cape Town City Ballet. As a respected, experienced arts manager, she has worked across a broad range of projects, festivals and cultural agencies, assisting businesses and organisations to “make things happen.” Since 2014, she has been the Managing Director of Creative Fix, developing strategies and providing support to clients in the cultural, creative and entrepreneurial sectors. Highlights of her career include working with organisations such as the National Arts Festival, the South African pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the South African Cultural Observatory, Hatch Ideas UK, The Arts and Culture Trust, UJ Arts & Culture, the National School of the Arts, Jade Bowers Design & Management and a number of industry-specific conferences.

Continue reading

A Q&A with Chantal Stanfield

In December 2017, we sat down with actress, singer and playwright Chantal Stanfield to chat about her one-woman show, From Koe’siestes To Kneidlach, which was about to debut at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town following a successful run at Theatre On The Square in Johannesburg. Fast forward to 2020 and a global pandemic that has left theatres around the world dark. In response to this, Chantal has released a pre-recorded version of the show that audience members can stream to their homes, in the hopes of raising funds for the two theatres that From Koe’siestes To Kneidlach called home.

Click here to read our conversation with Chantal from 2017.

Continue reading

A Conversation with Prue Leith

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

A Conversation with Alexis Petersen

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

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 Olivia Fischer

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.

Continue reading