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Lauren Noble

writer and director

Lauren Noble is a South African theatre director, production designer, writer, teacher and performance practitioner who produces bespoke events and experiences which consciously blur boundaries between multiple art forms. Lauren spent a decade of her career working in the drama classrooms of Durban and Dubai, crafting a pedagogy which involves tangibly supporting creatives of all ages to empower themselves through the arts. Lauren credits the character of Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as the role which began her journey from the school hall to the professional stage - that was in 2001, and she was just 11 at the time! Since then, Lauren has gone on to write, produce, design and direct multiple kids theatre shows such as ClueDon't! (2015), Timehop (2017), The Mixtape Factory (2018) and Footloose: The Remix (2019). She has also directed. acted and produced for amateur festivals with plays like The Bench (2021) and The End (2021), not to mention winning the Theme8 Festival with a postmodern ode to chess and Lewis Carrol with Checkmate (2021).

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Lauren's per passion for teaching is evident in the way educational opportunities are embedded in all of her methodologies for the stage. Lauren is also the founder and creative director f Collab Company - a performing arts organisation in Dubai - where she loudly and proudly calls for the disruption of outdated methods of artistic and educational practices in favour of evolutionary 21st century methodologies. Antigone Retold is the culmination of an ideology which says that theatre must acknowledge its own responsibility: to shine the spotlight on specifics in our society. That's what Antigone Retold is. An opportunity to showcase feminism and the need for it using a blend of contemporary and classical stories that represent - to anyone listening closely enough - that we haven't really evolved much in our treatment of women and the patriarchy that suppresses us all in over two millennia! The arts is her chosen medium with which to fight for a better way...

Sashin Kandhai

choreographer

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Sashin Kandhai, from South Africa, is a globally acclaimed film and stage choreographer, performing artist and TV personality. The 3-time Bollywood Dance Champion specialises in Indian semi-classical and folk dance, Bollywood dance and Afrobeat; he is also a trained fire artist and aerial silks performer. Sashin has performed in 12 countries across the globe and is the resident choreographer on the reality dance shows Dance Africa Dance and Dance Naija Dance on ZEE TV. He is the choreographer behind the hit South African movies Kandasamys 2 (Showmax) and Kandasamys 3 (Netflix), with his third film due for release in 2023. With 15 years of experience in the performing arts, Sashin has choreographed, directed and performed in multiple live shows, special events and stage musicals from his own directorial at the Sun City Superbowl (South Africa) to the Miss India Worldwide in Mauritius where he was also awarded for his work in the arts by CANMA (Cancer Association of Mauritius). 

As a choreographer and performer, the creative process leading up to the final showdown is always the most rewarding. Every project I take on must facilitate growth for me as a creative and should be a challenging and enriching experience. This is what I have loved most about the build-up to Antigone Retold. It has pushed me far out of my comfort zone as a choreographer and dancer and has allowed for an exceptional exchange of learning between myself, my director and my cast & crew. Lauren and I have known each other in our personal and professional capacities for many years and she has always been able to bring out the best in everyone around her creative space. I have found that working with her is a matured and professional experience which always adds immense value to my personal and professional growth. Dance has always been a powerful tool in storytelling and moving a narrative forward where words may fail, and I am thankful to have been able to add my choreographic influence to this experience. A special thank you to my fellow Dionysians Katherine and Sasha for being exceptional at what you do and for your creative input in the choreographic process. 

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Anisa Bharmal

hera

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Anisa, a singer, pianist, music teacher and music therapist from London, discovered her passion for performing arts very young at Ballet school, and as a teenager, performed as Liat in South Pacific with Cody Musical Theatre Company. She went on to study Music Performance at Kingston University, a PGCE at Goldsmith’s College London and a master’s in music therapy at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before venturing to Dubai as Head of Music at a British School. Pre-COVID, she was lucky to perform at the Dubai Opera and EXPO2020 with the Dubai Opera Festival Chorus, collaborating with artists such as Tania Kassis and the Bollywood musical maestro, AR Rahman. Anisa then joined MTDXB and performed in three shows with them. It was during working with MTDXB that Lauren approached Anisa to participate in Antigone Retold with Collab Company. Since moving back to the UK, she joined another theatre company, HMOS, where she is performing the role of Mimi in Rent.

Antigone Retold in Dubai brought a unique and immersive experience to the Greek Mythological story. Anisa played the role of Hera, which she felt allowed her to channel her constant battle to balance and manage her emotions – it was like the part was written for her! Under the inspirational guidance from Lauren, Anisa showcased her acting, singing and dancing skills; she especially enjoyed singing the powerful number that captures Hera’s complexities, and learning Sashin’s incredible choreography, which is sure to be even more captivating, challenging and passionate in South Africa. The music chosen for Antigone Retold brings a modern and innovative take to the classical piece, combining classical and contemporary art. Anisa arranged and directed the music for the Dubai production and will also be taking on this role, as well as Hera, in Durban, allowing for collaboration opportunities with singers who will feature on the musical tracks, and with choirs who will perform live as part of the production. She is delighted to be arranging choral and instrumental scores, directing ensembles and embedding more live music into this performance. Anisa has found this entire experience extremely gratifying; from the start of Antigone Retold in Dubai, to working with such a talented group of individuals from around the globe in online weekly meetings from our corners of the world.

 

She can’t wait to do bring this all together in Durban...

Sarah McNeice

megara

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Sarah is delighted to be reprising the role of Megara in the international tour of Antigone Retold, a play which encompasses her love of singing, acting, dancing and feminist icons. A primary school teacher from Ireland, Sarah studied and completed all of her grades, including her Senior Certificate, in Musical Theatre and Popular singing with the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She has been involved in choirs and musical theatre all her life, most recently, performing in Musical Theatre Dubai's The Addams Family in June 2024, where she played an ancestor. Sarah was also a member of the crew on this production, helping with set, props, costume, hair and makeup. Sarah is a member of Teachers’ Musical Society Choir in Dublin, who are working hard preparing for their March 2024 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She previously worked as a Performing Arts teacher in an International school in the UAE, teaching music and drama to primary school students. During her time in this post, she devised and implemented a brand new performing arts curriculum for the school. 

Sarah has always dreamt of playing the part of a Disney princess. In this modernised version of Antigone, she is playing the part of Megara, mortal wife of the mighty Hercules, gifted to him by her father King Creon. This role allows Meg to tell (in fact, sing) her own story. Meg has been a plot point of Hercules’ story for far too long and she can’t stay silent any longer. Megara is a part of The Seven Devils chorus, a group of goddesses and mortals, all with the same goal... to stick it to the man! In the original production, Sarah assisted with devising, creating and musical direction, working closely with the entire production and creative team. She is delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with these people again and learn even more from their expertise. Her favourite element about the process behind Antigone Retold is the collaboration - everyone pitches in where ever they can, enriching the experience for each person.

Ivana Vajman Jackson

athena

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Ivana Vajman Jackson grew up immersed in the world of art. Early on in her career she earned a Master's degree in Stage Design from Belgrade University in Serbia. In her early 30s, now living in London, Ivana transitioned from her usual behind-the-scenes role to a role that was right under the spotlight, evolving her abilities and finding even more artistry within her own artistic journey. As a passionate and versatile performer, Ivana has experience in a wide range of theatrical productions - from original shows to tribute performances. She co-ordinated and participated in monthly performances with Team AngelWolf, a non-profit organization in Dubai which promotes inclusion through impactivity. It was here that Ivana started to develop her skills in stage management too. Ivana has delivered performances on a diverse range of topics, fostering a close engagement within many different communities. She has performed in two languages and been involved in various projects within the Dubai expat community. Amidst relocating and nurturing her family within the UAE where multiple cultures connect, she finds fulfilment in her dynamic family life with her husband and two children.

"The anticipation of reprising Atina is electrifying. Embodying her potent spirit ignited a sense of empowerment, and the sheer joy of inhabiting her character remains unparalleled. The experience was transformative, propelling my acting to new heights. Working with Collab is akin to stepping into a utopian ideal, where respect is inherent regardless of role size. It fosters a collaborative spirit, where diverse talents unite to create art that resonates deeply. Individual strengths are celebrated, and authenticity is embraced, not penalized. It's reminiscent of a Montessori school for adults, where growth flourishes through playful exploration and dedication. Considering all this, The Woza Habibi Tour ignites excitement on multiple levels. I yearn to delve deeper into the environment that has nurtured such extraordinary professionals, specifically the remarkable individuals, Lauren and Sashin. As a child, singing and dancing in my bedroom, armed with a deodorant stick as a microphone, I dreamt of participating in a grand, international, interracial performance. To be on the cusp of realizing this dream fills me with elation. I am confident that this will be an unforgettable experience, marked by hard work, meaningful connections, and the delivery of a theatrical treat to Durban."

Kirin Hilliar

tiresias

Whether she’s acting, directing or producing, Kirin is always thinking about psychology: the psychology of the characters, the actors playing them, the audience watching them, and the behind-the-scenes crew that makes it all happen. As an Assistant Professor of Psychology (paging Doctor Kirin!) and a practising Psychologist, psychology is kind of her thing. Being involved in Dubai’s theatre community since 2016, Kirin has worn multiple hats and worked with various theatre groups across scripted, immersive, and improvised productions. Having directed Lauren Noble in Dubai Drama Group's May 2022 production of Lulu Raczka’s A Girl in School Uniform (Walks into a Bar), Kirin was very excited to “flip the switch” and have Lauren direct her this time. In the process of helping behind-the-scenes, Kirin was in awe as she watched the production morph from a typical stage show into a multi-faceted, interactive arts and education experience.

Kirin played Tiresias in the Dubai production of Antigone Retold, and loved the character’s unique experience of interacting with both the classic and the contemporary cast. For our Durban production, Kirin is excited to pass on the torch of Tiresias to a South African performer, as she helms the direction of the immersive elements of the production that protrude beyond the stage. Kirin has always appreciated the truly collaborative spirit of Collab Company - where every perspective gets a voice. She’s looking forward to emulating that approach with our joining cast and crew in Durban!

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