Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Supporters & Contributors

The project has gained the support of many prominent South Africans and international organisations which have developed it into a strong network of partners, collaborators and promoters to help realize the goal of this project. They include the British High Commissioner to South Africa, Paul Boateng; the head of the Education Department at the Robben Island Museum, Dedrie Prins-Solani; the South African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ms Lindiwe Mabuza; Tony Award winning actor Dr. John Kani; Dr Sonia Massai, Reader in Shakespeare Studies, English Department at King's College London; the British Council in South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund UK and the Royal Shakespeare Company amongst others.
All of these partnerships will greatly extend the reach of the project and are involved at an appropriate level.
Steph O’Driscoll, an award winning young theatre director and recent graduate from St. Mary’s said, ‘I thought it was a great concept, thought provoking, and powerful. It was the first thing I have seen for a while that I haven’t fallen asleep in and it has made me excited again about theatre. John’s views on Shakespeare (not caring for the literacy figure that England has created) should feed into the play which parallels telling the story of these men’s lives through Shakespeare. It was genius the way they corrected you and you do not come across as ignorant for not knowing the correct pronunciations. It roots the idea that this is these particular men’s stories and their history, no one else could possibly understand fully or get it completely correct.’

Contributors: John Kani -Theatre credits includes Driving Miss Daisy, Othello, The Blood Knot, The Island, Waiting for Godot, Playland, Duet for One, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, and My Children! My Africa! Several of these productions and many others have been performed to audiences across the world. The Island, which won the Toronto Theatre Award 2001 for Best Production, was co-written by Kani, Athol Fugard, and Winston Ntshona – the same team also wrote Sizwe Banzi Is Dead. Kani won the Best Actor Tony Award on Broadway for his performances in these plays. In 2004 he performed in the Greek classic Antigone at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and then at Baxter Theatre Centre. His films include The Wild Geese, The Grass Is Singing, Marigolds in August, Victims of Apartheid, An American Dream, A Dry White Season, Sarafina, and Saturday Night at the Palace, for which he won a Taormina Golden Award at the Milan International Film Festival. In 1993 he received a special Obie Award in New York for his extraordinary contribution to theatre. Kani’s accolades for his contribution to South Africa and culture include The Avanti Hall of Fame Award; a National African Federation Chamber of Commerce Merit Award; the Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellowship Award; an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Durban, Westville; an Honorary Doctorate of Literature from Rhodes University and the 2000 Hiroshima Renaissance Merit Award for Peace in Stockholm. Kani is a trustee of The Market Theatre Foundation and Chairman of the Apartheid Museum. In 2005 he was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga OIS by President Thabo Mbeki for his contribution through the arts to the liberation of South Africa.
Scilla Elworthy Ph.D - Scilla is founder of Peace Direct, and founder and Chair of Oxford Research Group, established in 1982 to develop effective methods whereby people can bring about positive change on issues of global and local security by non-violent means. Previously she was a consultant at UNESCO on women’s issues, a director of Minority Rights Group in France and has worked for ten years in southern Africa. In May 2003 she was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize and has three times been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1976 she helped organise the building and launch of the Market Theatre, South Africa’s first multiracial theatre and parent theatre of the Market Theatre Laboratory, partner with The Robben Island Bible project. In 2002 she launched a production at the Royal Opera House theatre in London entitled Transforming September 11th; in 2004 she provided the basic material for Max Stafford Clark’s acclaimed production of “Talking to Terrorists” at the Royal Court Theatre in London; and in 2007 her case study on the siege of Fallujah in Iraq was used as the basis for Jonathan Holmes production of “Fallujah” at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. Currently, she is advising Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, President Jimmy Carter and Peter Gabriel on the creation of ‘The Elders’ an organisation created to address the current lack of independent moral global leaders.
Matjamela Motloung (Head of Market Theatre Laboratory) - Theatre administrator who has had extensive training in both performing and management. Has successfully working on Arts Alive for Soweto with MBS community theatre group as well as a part of Southern African Arts Administrators who set up the initial Southern African Theatre Initiative. Matjamela has also hosted and facilitated a number of workshops and co-ordinated a number of festivals and conferences in and around Southern Africa. Matjamela has trained with the acclaimed Royal National Studio (UK) and the Stockholm Stads Teater (Sweden), and the Peter Brook Company (France) as an actor and director. Matjamela directed four fingers by Makhosi Dlamini for the Lab Community Festival and is currently co-director of the Minuature Theatre Company for Kids in Pietermaritzburg Kwa Zulu Natal.Matjamela is one of the leading voices in the push for a transformed theatre industry in South Africa.
Tod Higginson (videographer) - Studied Drama and Theatre Arts at Goldsmiths College, where he was awarded a 1st Class BA Hons degree in 2003. During his time at Goldsmiths, he specialised in technical work, including audio, video, and lighting, as well as directing for live and recorded performance. Tod has worked extensively with DV and High Definition video formats since 2000, and has been employed at a leading DVD Authoring company, dealing with major releases for film and TV companies, since 2003.
Masie Mojela (researcher) – Has a Bsc Degree (Physics and Chemistry) from the University of Johannesburg and has worked in community development in Soweto.

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