Lliane Loots. Picture: Instagram
Lliane Loots. Picture: Instagram

5 powerhouse women owning the stage

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Jul 20, 2021

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South Africa is home to a host of amazing and versatile actresses.

Let’s take a look at five female powerhouses owning their craft on the theatre front.

Kate Normington

Kate Normington. Picture: Supplied

Award-winning South African actress and queen of musicals, Kate Normington is best known for her work in theatre productions, “Sweeney Todd”, “Hair” and “Nunsense” which earned her a Fleur de Cap award for best actress.

Normington, a Speech and Drama graduate went on to performed at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End in 1995 and the Haymarket in England in 1996 among other venues abroad.

The multi-talented star also performed a number of local jingles and voice overs for radio and television and has a debut album out entitled “Mother's Daughter”.

She also made several TV appearances over the years.

Fiona Ramsay

Fiona Ramsay. Picture: Supplied

Award-winning theatre actress, Fiona Ramsay played a critical role in South African theatre in the 70s and 80s at a time when theatre exploded with electrifying activity.

She along with Richard E. Grant, Henry Goodman, Fred Abrahamse and Neil McCarthy, formed The Troupe Theatre Company where they produced original, daring, creative, innovative and exciting theatre.

Ramsay spent five successful years performing on London’s West End and when she returned to South Africa she continued to perform at the Alhambra in Doornfontein.

In recent years as it has become harder to fill theatres, Ramsay has taken up film roles, one-woman shows, lecturing and voice coaching.

Palesa Mazamisa

Palesa Mazamisa. Picture: Instagram

Director, playwright and author, Palesa Mazamisa captured audience with her directorial debut satirical play, “Shoes & Coups“ in 2018.

She catapulted to fame after it received eight nominations including Best New South African Script, Best Director & Best Production from the prestigious national Naledi Theatre Awards.

The play went on to win the Best New South African Script and the Best Supporting Actor awards.

Mazamisa is also a published author and playwright her work has featured in numerous publications.

Her short story “A Day In August” was published in the literary anthology Botsotso 17 in 2016.

She co-wrote and co-produced the play “Bubbly Bosoms” for the Thari Ya Arts group, which was staged at the National Theatre in Pretoria in 2010, and at the National Arts Festival in 2011.

Mazamisa was part of the Market Theatre’s virtual project #Ditshomo, which live streamed nine productions across all its social media platforms to ensure that its loyal supports and new audiences were able to get a taste of South Africa’s theatre prowess from the comfort of their homes during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Lara Foot

Lara Foot. Picture: Suppplied

Lara Foot is a multi-award-winning playwright, director and producer. She is the CEO and artistic director of the Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town.

Foot has put most of her energy into helping other playwrights and theatre-makers realise their work and she has nurtured several dozen new South African plays to their first staging.

Her own hard-hitting plays tackle social issues and have laid bare the brutality and sickening frequency of child rape in South Africa; “Tshepang” was based on a real event, the alleged gang rape of a nine-month-old baby by six men in a remote, impoverished community.

Foot used refined, ironic humour to sketch a portrait of the community, and then turned everyday objects into symbols with horrific poetic effect.

“Karoo Moose” (2007) returned to the subject of child rape and a rural town.

In “Solomon and Marion”, Foot explores the cruelty of the meaningless murders which betray her country.

Lliane Loots

Lliane Loots. Picture: File

Dr Lliane Loots, founder of Flatfoot Dance Company and UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts, JOMBA! artistic director works in the arena of African dance pedagogy and dance performance and choreography.

As the artistic director of the company she has won numerous choreographic awards and commissions and has travelled extensively in Europe, America and within the African continent with her dance work.

As a researcher she has published numerous articles over the years.

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