The South African State Theatre (SAST) Incubator Programme is a government – Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) – initiative that seeks to help semi-professional, peri-professional and newly graduated artists in their quest to “breakthrough” into the arts industry and operate as competent professionals. The DAC has structured the programme on the notion that it takes an artist 10 000 hours to perfect his/her skill and, therefore, aims to help these artists achieve these hours by giving them the means (through stipends), a platform (through working with its institutions) and expertise (through mentors) with which they can achieve this.
The mentors for the 2015/2016 programme are celebrated industry professionals like choreographer Thabo Rapoo, our three SAST dramaturges (Greg Homann, Refiloe Lepere, and Eliot Moleba), former Rhythmic Element lead singer Mpho “McKenzie” Matome, seasoned Jazz musician Norman Chauke, our Resident Director Paul M. Grootboom and our Artistic Director Aubrey Sekhabi. The productions are digitized in video by 6 multi-cam mentees led by their all-rounder mentor Francesco Biagini.
In this, its inaugural year, the programme boast an exciting line-up of new talent and new (original) content:
1. PRIMAL – An allegorical Drama about racism by Tshepo Ratona
Venue: Arena, State Theatre Dates: Wed, 09 March 2016
Fri, 11 March 2016
Sat, 19 March 2016
Set in a nondescript jungle, Primal is a tale of gorillas that are at war with the chimpanzees. The allegory examines a number of issues that have shaped and destroyed human society from the beginning of the fraught interactions of different races till today. It is a satire about tribalism, race (and the concomitant racism) and privilege.
Tshepo was born and bred in Goedgevonden in the North West Province. Upon completing his studies at Mmabana Mmabatho, he came to Gauteng, where he began his work as a theatre director. Key amongst his recent works has been is the triple-bill “Cula Mzansi”, three short operas conducted by maestro Graham Scott and directed with Warona Seane and Marcus Desando. Last year he also assisted Aubrey Sekhabi in directing “Marikana – The Musical”. He the plays “The Movement”, “The Infidel”, “Export” and now “Primal” as his intellectual property.
2. PORSELEIN – A hard-hitting Afrikaans Drama about Gay-spousal abuse by Quintin Wils
Venue: Arena, State Theatre Dates: Wed, 16 March 2016 Thurs, 17 March 2016
Fri, 18 March 2016
The Director and Designer of the production, Quintin Wils, says that Porselein is by far the most exhilarating show that he has ever directed, but adds that “…it is by far the most thought-provoking production that I have directed thus far! A production that makes you evaluate your own thoughts and ideas around what domestic violence actually may be.”
It stars a cast of six actors including actors Phill van Achterbergh (My Boetie se
Boetie se Boetie se Baba) and Vianney Farmer (aLEXA – A Mobile Thriller) in the lead roles. The cast is completed by Lechelle Lerm, Lee Visage, Carla Belmonte,Tiaan Slabbert with JP Besselaar as the Assistant Director and Frenette van der Walt as the Stage Manager.
Award-winning theatre maker Quintin Wils graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) with an Honours Degree in Drama. Not even 3 years into the industry, Wils has been named as one of SA Theatre Magazine’s Top 5 Theatre Maker to look out for in 2016. He has one of the ‘Rising Stars’ of the 2014 National Arts Festival and one of Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans. He is currently the Artistic Director of VNA Productions and was recently appointed as the Theatre Manager of the new Eldo Little Theatre in Pretoria.
￼3. LAST BREATH – A thought-provoking drama about the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda by Mduduzi Nhlapo
Venue: Arena, State Theatre Dates: Wed, 23 March 2016 Thurs, 24 March 2016
Sat, 26 March 2016
A fictional thriller dealing with bigotry, hegemony and corruption. The protagonist is a Ugandan activist who gains political popularity due to his captivating vision and fight for civil rights but soon loses it all due to his free expression of his sexuality. He faces doom and persecution due to the President’s bigoted intolerance of basic human rights.
Mdu is a Pretoria University graduate with a BA (Honours) in Drama and Film Studies. He is a performer and physical theatre expert who has performed in various drama and dance productions. He has written and directed and performed his own solo show, Last Breath, which is a testament to the kind of talent that Mdu is.
4. IWA LEWA – A Dance piece about the subjectivity of beauty by Bafikile Sedibe
Venue: Arena, State Theatre Dates: Thurs, 10 March 2016
Sat, 12 March 2016
A 60 minute dance piece performed and choreographed by Sedibe (accompanied by a poetess and a live musician) that explores the conundrum of an “ideal female spouse”. It compares the value of beauty with the value of “good moral standards” and illustrates the aphorism of “beauty not only being about a woman’s outward appearance, but the character she displays”.
Even though Bafikile is a fledgeling choreographer, she is quite an established and celebrated dancer who has worked in numerous professional dance productions like Dada Masilo celebrated dance productions.
5. FIRE – An eclectic Dance piece about the fire that burns in all of us by Lesego Baloyi
Venue: Drama, State Theatre Dates: Fri, 18 March 2016
Sat, 19 March 2016
A burning sensation within ones spirit to encourage, evoke change, influence positivity and engulf ones spirit into becoming whole again. The fire of hope emerging from a melancholic state where many are discouraged, infuriated, marginalised and put down by the external “fire” symbolising society and circumstances where no point of pulling through is apparent. But ultimately… progressively, when birds of a feather flock together to find light, a sense of belonging is accomplished. Through unity, walls of entrapment are brought down through the internal fire of yearning to break through and become revived.
Lesego Fortunate Baloyi is a young, vivacious Dance all-rounder – a performer, director, choreographer, dance instructor and coach. A B-Tech graduate of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), he comes from a rich list of performing arts projects with various performances such as the GEBRASA (Germany, Brazil, and South Africa) production in 2005 and in 2007. He competed in Latin American SA Championships from 2008 to 2011. As a performer, he toured to Greece through Cioff in 2010. From 2012 to date Lesego has been coaching and instructing competitive Latin dancers. He choreographed the Gauteng formation in 2012 and is going from strength to strength.
6. MOLO – A vibrant music show about community and commonality by Siyasanga Papu
Venue: Arena, State Theatre Dates: Thurs, 03 March 2016
Sat, 05 March 2016
Molo is an unmistakably African sound that liberally blends and incorporates universal musical elements and style. The result is a fresh signature sound that is escalated to a new identity. It is unique journey
￼through melody and song, an 11 piece ensemble brought together by the power of music. The ensemble is composed of 5 original founding members, 3 backup vocalists, a lead guitarist, bass guitarist, as well as a trombonist.
Siyasanga is an Eastern Cape born artist who is an actress, singer, painter and sketch artist. In 2005 she was part Aubrey Sekhabi’s Musical “Mother of Rain”, and later that year she moved on to be part of internationally-travelled “Relativity: Township Stories” She later appeared some supporting roles on TV, including Hillside (2008-9), Isindiso (2007) and Rhythm City(2008-2009). In 2010 she performed in the pantomime “The Wizard of OZ” and the “Jock of the Bushveld – The Musical” staged at the Joburg theatre. She was the lead singer and also sang the national anthem at the “SATATOO” in 2012 in Monte Casino. Last year she was part of the big production “Marikana – The Musical” that was staged at the South African State Theatre, thereafter having a cameo role in Isidingo (2014-2015). She currently has a 5 piece band called “Blue Velvet”, for which she is the lead vocalist.
7. THE JOURNEY OF MY AFRICAN SOUND – An original Music show about nostalgia and legend- forming by Mandla Ntlatlane
Venue: Arena, State Theatre Dates: Wed, 02 March 2016
Fri, 04 March 2016
An African musical journey that follows Ntlaks (Mandla) through his memories and creative progression from his formative influences to his blooming into an eccentric but exciting fully-fledged artist whose influences and inspiration came from the music of Sankomota, Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Music Power. The eclectic array of songs is guaranteed to take the audience on a trip unlike any that they’ve been in before.
Mandla Ntlatlane (Ntlaks) is a talented vocalist and songwriter from Ekangala in the Mpumalanga Province. No stranger to Music, Ntlaks honed his craft in music school, and further improved on his experience through performances with the likes of Tshwane Gospel Choir and as backing vocals for Vicky Vilakazi. He is the lead vocalist and founder of a 6-piece band Music Power, which provides the music behind this magical show.
Contact Paul Grootboom – Resident Director 012 392 4000 or paul[ at ] statetheatre[ dot ]co [ dot ]za