In 1982, during my final year at Jeppe Boys High, I was given an opportunity to work on a South African Broadcasting Company TV production called ‘Scotty Smith’. It followed the travels and experiences of a fictional character who fights against a German character who apparently was still hanging around after the 1st world war. He had half his face covered in a mask as a result of having had acid thrown on his face; a result of a spat with a prostitute. I was given an extra role in the TV production. This then turned into more than that as I had to stand in for this German character for a number of sequences as the principle actor got food poisoning. I was involved in one season. During this time I also worked at the Civic Centre in Jo’burg and was able to see for the first time in my life large touring opera productions. I never forgot how amazing the sets and music were.
I then left South Africa for the USA in ’83. Once I arrived in the US I forged ahead with music. I returned to film in 1990 when I got involved with the Robocop 3 film that was shooting in Atlanta, GA. I then continued work on a number of TV productions. In the early 90’s I began to work with Nicole Torre on her independent theatre productions company called ‘Zoink’. Through ‘Zoink Productions’ I was I fortunate to work with Spalding Grey and Karen Finley. She also produced ‘All in Life’, ‘She Crab Soup’, ‘Road‘ and ‘Approaching Simone’, by Megan Terry and directed by Nicole Torre. ‘Approaching Simone’ was the Theater Emory’s reinterpretation of the scripts of philosopher Simone Weil.
During this period I started working on some experimental film work with Neil Fried and Grady Cousins and we produced a 3-minute experimental film called ‘Zygote’. Then for 2 years got involved in the 48-hour film festivals in Atlanta. In 1998, as part of the onepeople project, Charity Ellis and I (she was my partner at the time) produced a documentary detailing our journey through Europe and Africa. In it, we filmed our meetings with artists, curators, musicians, producers, and progressive thinkers. We screened this at a number of venues. I was then also fortunate to work with Jud Hockersmith on a documentary about the Dali Llama and an order of monks that were promoting the work they were doing in Tibet.
In 2004 I was invited to produce a theatrical production with Grady Cousins. ‘Situbanda’ as it became known was essentially a western interpretation of the Ramayana. The production involved a 15 person Bale Ganjur and 20+ ensemble performing Kecak (monkey chant). After 6 months of rehearsals, the entire 40+ ensemble traveled to Indonesia and performed at the Bali Arts Festival. What followed were workshops and performances in Ubud, Tedjakula and Solo. After our return to the USA, we performed in San Francisco and Atlanta GA.
It was only once I traveled to Australia in 2008 that I became heavily involved in large touring Theatre productions. I was employed by Crown Theatre in 2013 and in the last 5 years, I have done the full seasons of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, South Pacific, Les Miserables, Wicked, The Lion King, Georgie Girl, Aladdin. I was also hired by the Western Australian Ballet to serve as an assistant stage manager on the ballet’s season of ‘Snow White and the 7 dwarves. I feel that my journey has been a zigzag one. Things crossing over constantly. There is one aspect however that rings true. It has always been about being creative and collaborating with other creative people.