Brett Goldin bursary winners announced

STAFF REPORTER

Green Point resident David Viviers, 23, and Rosebank’s Buhle Ngaba, 25, were announced winners of the Brett Goldin Bursary on Friday May 20.

Buhle and David were among the six finalists who were selected from more than 60 applicants from all over South Africa. The other four finalists were Sihle Mnqwazana, Kiroshan Naidoo, Skye Russell and William Harding.

An elated David said he could hardly believe he had won.

“This is an incredible honour. To be involved with this tribute to Brett’s life is especially meaningful for me”.

He graduated with a BA in Theatre and Performance from the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department in 2014. Earlier this year he received a Kanna Award for Best Debut Work (which he shared with Wessel Pretorius) as well as a Kanna nomination for Best Upcoming Performer, at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK).

In 2015 he was nominated for a Fleur du Cap Most Promising Student and also received the Ruth Peffers Prize for Most Promising Student at UCT. In 2014 he received the Standard Bank Ovation Award for his performance in Salt at the National Arts Festival. “I would just like to say I am thankful to everyone involved and especially to Brett Goldin’s mother. It is one of the most rewarding processes (of my career) and I would also like to thank the judges for giving us this opportunity,” David said.

Buhle, who was a finalist for the Brett Goldin bursary in 2014, is an actress, playwright, storyteller and author who studied acting and contemporary performance at Rhodes University as well as Processes of Performance at the University of Leeds in the UK.

She recently appeared in John Kani’s Missing, for which she was nominated for both a Fleur du Cap and a Naledi award for best supporting actress in a play.

“I am extremely excited, not only for myself, but for the work we will get to do. To be able to use my talents and skills is just remarkable. As a woman of colour to grow and represent South Africa is very special and knowing that little girls may be inspired to follow their dreams simply by knowing that I was on this stage is really amazing to me,” said Buhle.

“Since this bursary was first initiated I have always been overwhelmed and overjoyed by the wealth of young talent and performers that South Africa is blessed with,” said Denise Goldin, mother of the late Brett Goldin. “This year was no exception. The final six actors were all so incredibly strong and passionate which makes it so difficult for me and the other judges. It is heartbreaking to have to decide on only two winners because I found all the final six worthy of this opportunity.”

The Brett Goldin Bursary was first introduced after the young actor and his friend, fashion designer Richard Bloom, both 28, were killed over the Easter weekend on 16 April 2006, just days before he was due to leave for Stratford-upon-Avon.

The double murder sent shockwaves throughout South Africa and England. 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 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.

The bursary is for 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, on their return they should be willing to use the skills gained to enthuse and encourage others towards a love and understanding of Shakespeare.

The two bursars will 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 July until August.

They will be based in the Artist Development Department.

The panel of judges for this year’s auditions were award-winning actress Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Zabalaza Theatre Festival artistic director, Thami Mbongo and creative director of Kunste Onbeperk, Hugo Theart, as well as Denise Goldin.

* Additional reporting by Angelique Ellis.