Durban teens off to Glasgow

2014-02-28 00:00

FOUR Durban teenagers have been invited to perform at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games being held in Scotland in July.

Sinikiwe Sifumba (18) from Grosvenor Girls’ High, Emily Spencer (15) from Durban Girls’ High School, Melissa Strydom (16) from Gelofte Skool, and Christopher Turner (16) from Clifton School, are all theatre students with Rising Star Performing Arts Theatre School run by Gill Brunings in Westville.

“I was contacted by the National Scottish Youth Theatre,” said Brunings. “They wanted representatives from each country in the Commonwealth to apply to be part of the performance troupe at the games.”

In all, NSYT wanted 90 performers and to qualify, performers had be aged between 16 and 25 at the time of the games. In all, eight youngsters have been selected to represent South Africa, four from a drama studio in Johannesburg and the four from Durban.

“It’s all ‘top secret’ as to what exactly they will be doing,” said Brunings. “But they are holding different events with performers in the various parks where they will be holding games events. They will probably look at developing performances for street theatre — to entertain people in queues and at openings.”

Brunings extended the invitation to apply to be part of the games to her students taking the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (Lamda) examinations. “These are students who want to take their interest in theatre from being an extra-mural activity on to a career in acting.”

Those students applying had to provide a resumé of their theatre experience and provide reasons why they wanted to go.

Christopher said he wanted to learn different styles of acting while Sifumba was also keen to develop her acting skills. “And I want to learn more about different cultures because we will be meeting people from all over the world,” said Sifumba.

Melissa said she enjoyed dancing and singing. “This is an opportunity to learn more skills,” she said

Emily, who will have turned 16 by the time the games commence, is also looking forward to building up her performance skills and meeting people from around the world. “I’m really excited,” she said.

Brunings is confident in her students’ abilities, “The sort of work they will be doing will involve improvisational work and physical theatre — which they are all equipped to do.”

Their biggest challenge, according to Brunings, is going to be coping without parents or guardians “because they will be going on their own”.

However, they still have to raise funds for the trip. Though the National Scottish Youth Theatre provides accommodation, breakfast and dinner, “we have to find the money for flights and visas — and lunch”.

Brunings will be applying to the Departments of Arts and Culture for funding.

If you would like to assist, contact Gill Brunings on 083 326 3257 or e-mail

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