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LARA FOOT NEWTON ROLEX WINNER (article first published : 2004-05-30)

South African theatre director, writer and producer Lara Foot Newton is one of six winners in the worldwide Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

This programme brings together emerging talents with some of the world's greatest artists for a year of creative collaboration. There were three finalists from South Africa – the others being Sibongile Mngoma (music) and Gregory Maqoma (dance).

In total, six young artists from six countries and five continents have been named as the Protégés in the second cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. This is an international arts programme that brings emerging talents together with some of the world’s greatest artists for a year of creative collaboration.

Sir Peter Hall, David Hockney, Mira Nair, Jessye Norman, Saburo Teshigawara and Mario Vargas Llosa chose the six gifted young artists following a rigorous selection process involving more than 150 candidates from around the world.

Lara Foot Newton, who began her career presenting hard-hitting plays at Johannesburg’s pioneering Market Theatre, will work with Sir Peter Hall, a titan of British theatre.

20-year-old Ethiopian dancer, Junaid Jemal Sendi will be paired with Saburo Teshigawara, Japan’s most influential choreographer. Gifted Thai film-maker Aditya Assarat (32) will work with Mira Nair, internationally celebrated director, screenwriter and producer. Colombian author Antonio García Ángel (31) will be paired with renowned Peruvian novelist, Mario Vargas Llosa.

Canadian mezzo-soprano Susan Platts (31) will collaborate with Jessye Norman, the legendary soprano. Matthias Weischer, a 31-year-old German painter, will be paired with David Hockney, arguably the most versatile and popular British artist of recent times.

“We are delighted to note that the Protégés of the second cycle of the Rolex Arts Initiative represent five continents, once again demonstrating that creativity at its highest level is to be found worldwide,” said Patrick Heiniger, Chief Executive Officer of Rolex SA. “As we begin the programme’s second cycle, we are confident that these brilliant young artists will flourish under the guidance of these six artistic giants.”

Inaugurated in 2002, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative invites masters in the performing arts, visual arts, literature and film to provide individual guidance and instruction to younger artists who are at a critical point in their careers. In the search for potential Protégés, expert panels, one for each of the six disciplines, seek out promising candidates from around the world and nominate them for the Mentors’ consideration. Each Mentor then selects his or her Protégé for the year and the pair decides a practical schedule that ensures a minimum of 30 working-days together.

For the second cycle, the six expert panels nominated a total of 154 candidates from 53 countries, and subsequently chose 21 finalists. Following individual meetings with the finalists, the Mentors chose their Protégés.

Protégés receive a stipend of $25,000 for the year, and travel expenses are reimbursed. After the mentoring year, each Protégé presents a showcase performance, exhibition or event, with part of the cost underwritten by Rolex.




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