Mduduzi Nhlapo appointed new Associate Artistic Director of South African State Theater

Nhlapo’s duties include supporting the Artistic Director with creative and administrative tasks, directing and choreographing productions, designing educational and theater programs for children, providing dramaturgical support to productions, building local and continental collaborations and managing the Kucheza Afrika and Vavasati International festivals.

“Having gone through all the programs we present, he is best suited for the job,” said SAST Artistic Director Aubrey Sekhabi. “He is young, committed and talented. This is exactly what the industry needs. Energy, talent and rigor. I’m happy for him, and I wish him good luck in this new position. We definitely have an art director on standby.

Commenting on her plans for the new role, Nhlapo said, “My passion lies in using theater as a tool to alleviate social ills and make it accessible to everyone. Now as Associate Artistic Director, I’m thrilled and fully embodied because that dream goes way back. My role consists solely of reaffirming and repositioning the SAST brand as a trendsetter and benchmark for African identity, artistic and intellectual excellence.

Nhlapo holds an Honors BA in Drama and Film Studies, specializing in four areas including Research, with honors in Physical Theatre, Directing and Acting Studies from the University of Pretoria. He is a winner of the Naledi Theater Award for Best Choreography (2020) and was recently featured as a Choreographer and Playwright at this year’s National Arts Festival. He is also co-founder and artistic director of Great Stone Productions.

His extensive experience includes facilitating, mentoring and adjudicating the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (GDSACR) Ishashalazi Theater Program and the SAST Incubator Program.

Coming from the development programs of SAST, he has experience of participating in the Mayibuye Community Outreach field program and the Incubator program.

In addition to her artistic abilities, Nhlapo possesses entrepreneurial skills involving marketing, repositioning and brand management, as well as business acumen, leadership and administrative skills. He has served as the company’s director for international theater and Broadway shows such as burn the ground and Saturday night fever in 2016, and Bolanle Austin Peter’s Fela and the Kalakuta Queens at SAST in 2019. In addition, he has established collaborations and partnerships with many creators and theater institutions throughout his artistic career.

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