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.
Simoné Benjamin is a stage, screen and radio actress and the Corporate Affairs Specialist at Distell. With an Instagram handle aptly named Corporate Actress SA, her work with Distell sees her merging the corporate and arts sectors as she initiates, manages and supports various arts projects including the Distell National Playwright Competition, the Technical Training Programme at Artscape, the Amazink Live programme as part of Woordfees and the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, to name a few. As a performer, she has featured as the titular character in the radio drama Die Verdwyning van Mina Afrika as well as it’s sequel Die Tuiskoms van Mina Afrika. Simoné was most recently seen on screen in the short film Janneman, which debuted at this year’s Silwerskermfees. Continue reading
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.