AFDA Johannesburg Lecturer & Head of Live Performance Greg Homann has been named by the National Arts Festival as the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Theatre.
Greg Homann joined AFDA Johnnesburg in January this year as head of the Live Performance School on that campus. He has quickly made his mark as a valuable member of the AFDA team, working to grow and strengthen stage acting, screen acting, and musical performance with his counterparts in Cape Town and Durban.
His professional theatre productions have been nominated for 34 awards and have won 9 Naledi Awards including for Best Cutting Edge Production (The Pirates of Penzance and Delirium), a Standard Bank Ovation Award (One-Woman Farce), and a Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award (Brothers in Blood).
This year alone he has presented three of his award-winning productions across the country. Mike van Graan’s Brothers in Blood, produced by Artscape, has enjoyed seasons in Cape Town, The Playhouse in Durban and at the National Arts Festival. At the Witness Hilton Arts Festival last month he restaged his five-man version of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance as well as One-Woman Farce which he directed and co-wrote with actress, Louise Saint-Claire. Both were highlights of the Festival, with One-Woman Farce playing to Sold Out houses.
AFDA is proud to have facilitated Homann’s research trip to Brussels in September to advance his editorial work on an international book publication focusing on South African theatre, performance, and drama. As an academic and researcher, his primary area of research is in contemporary South African theatre with an emphasis on post-apartheid plays. He is the editor of a collection of plays entitled At This Stage: Plays from post-apartheid South Africa (Wits University Press, 2009) which includes two of his essays on contemporary South African theatre. He is also working on an international book publication that surveys South African plays and playwriting from 1994 to the present.
Homann’s views on the Arts in South Africa are well matched to AFDA’s values. He says, “I have always believed that theatre should challenge and entertain, and that these need not ever be separated. I wish to make people think while being emotionally engaged, whether that is through tears or laughter, or ideally both.” He adds, “I think it is the need to learn and connect that keeps me motivated. In a rehearsal room we become part of a family for a short time, and the text or project always results in an opportunity to learn something about ourselves or our world. I love that. I am also driven by a desire to prove that my choice to create a career in the arts is a viable one and that preconceived ideas of being an arts practitioner (poor, struggling, a dreamer, ungrounded, etc.) are simply not true.” says Homann.
AFDA founding executive member, Deon Opperman, was the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama in 1992.
Under Homann’s management, the AFDA Live Performance School in Johannesburg is currently completing a well-equipped 75-seater theatre that will become operational within the next few weeks.
About The Standard Bank Young Artist Awards:
The Young Artist Awards were started in 1981 by the National Arts Festival to acknowledge emerging, relatively young South African artists who have displayed an outstanding talent in their artistic endeavours. These prestigious awards are presented annually to deserving artists in different disciplines, affording them national exposure and acclaim. Standard Bank took over the sponsorship of the awards in 1984 and has presented Young Artist Awards in all the major arts disciplines over their 30-year sponsorship, as well as posthumous and special recognition awards. The winners feature on the main programme of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown and receive financial support for their Festival participation, as well as a cash prize.