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A Goldin opportunity for young actors

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IOL Goldin

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Denise Goldin with a picture of her son Brett.

The Baxter Theatre Centre is calling for applications from young South African actors, from anywhere in the country, between the ages of 20 and 30, who wish to audition for the Brett Goldin Bursary for 2014. The closing date is 5pm on Friday, 14 March and no late applications will be accepted.

Auditions will take place at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 9 and Thursday, 10 April with call-backs and finals on Friday, 11 April, when the winners will be announced at a special function that day.

The selection criteria stipulate that the actors should be a South African citizen, under the age of 30 in July 2014, have an interest in classic theatre, have a valid passport and be able to fly to Stratford during the stated period as dates are strictly not negotiable.

For the audition actors are required to perform two classic speeches (one tragic and one comic) as well as motivate why they should be awarded the bursary. It is essential that all applications include a detailed cv and the letter of motivation.

The Brett Goldin Bursary was set up immediately after the young actor and his friend, fashion designer Richard Bloom, both 28, were brutally murdered over the Easter weekend on April 16, 2006, just days before he was due to leave for Stratford-upon-Avon. He was to perform the role of Guildenstern in the Baxter’s production of Hamlet, directed by Janet Suzman, which launched the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival. The double murder sent shockwaves throughout South Africa and England.

The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Actors Centre in Johannesburg and the Baxter Theatre Centre established the bursary which was kick-started by donations from respected South African-born actor Sir Antony Sher and Honorary RSC Associate Dame Janet Suzman to give another young actor the opportunity which Brett was denied and to honour his memory in an appropriate manner.

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Goldin Bursary recipients Thami Mbongo, left, and Nicholas Pauling, right, with Denise Goldin.

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The bursary is a short post graduate course designed to enhance and fine-tune actors who are committed to the need and desire to expand their knowledge and acting ability of Shakespeare. Furthermore, their willingness to use the skills gained to enthuse and, on their return, to encourage others towards a love and understanding of Shakespeare is essential.

From the applications received a shortlist of 20 will be made. Only shortlisted applicants will be notified by Wednesday, 26 March and they will be invited to audition on the aforementioned dates at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The 20 candidates must be available for the call-backs and auditions on said dates and all costs involved in the process are for the respective actors’ own accounts. Six finalists will be selected on Friday, 11 April and the bursary winners will be announced that same day. Winners will be chosen according to their talent for Shakespeare performance, passion, commitment and overall suitability.

The two successful bursars will be selected from the auditions to travel to the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, birthplace of the world’s most famous playwright, for one month, from 26 July until 24 August.

The work programme will include activities such as attending warm-ups, solo and company voice and verse classes, any Artist Development workshops held during the visit, technical rehearsals and other rehearsals at the directors’ discretion, as well as sessions with a director or assistant director and the opportunity to attend Learning Department workshops.

The successful incumbents will be based in the Artist Development Department and introduced to the company, and it is hoped that much of the educational experience will come from observation, discussion with personnel working in production, press and casting departments and through contact with other actors, directors or members of the RSC.

Omphile Molusi became the first recipient of the bursary in 2007 and in 2008 Thami Mbongo and Nicholas Pauling were chosen when the organisers decided to hold the event every second year and that two recipients would be chosen. All three actors were part of the highly acclaimed The Tempest which marked the second collaboration between the Baxter Theatre Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2009. 2010 recipients were Thato Moraka and Josette Eales and in 2012 it was Nkosinathi Gaar and Timothy Redpath who impressed the judges.

On congratulating the winners in 2012 Denise Goldin, mother of the late Brett, said, “My family and I are deeply honoured that Brett’s memory continues to be upheld with the incredible success of this unique opportunity and it has been a joy to see how it has benefited the young actors who have been through the programme. Besides enhancing their own performances these actors have brought back to South Africa their passion for Shakespeare and positively used this to encourage and inspire upcoming actors to share their love of Shakespeare. “

This year’s judging panel will be made up of theatre stalwart Dorothy Ann Gould, who has been involved with the Bursary since its inception, Denise Goldin and Market Theatre Artistic Director James Ngcobo.

To find out more information on how to support the Brett Goldin Bursary Fund visit www.baxter.co.za under the heading “Fundraising.”

For further enquiries about applying for the bursary contact Nicolette Moses on 021 680 3964 during office hours. All applications should be clearly marked and addressed to Nicolette Moses, on fax 021 650 5260, email nicolette.moses@uct.ac.za or posted or delivered to the Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch, 7700 by no later than 5pm on Friday, 14 March 2014.

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