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BRETT GOLDIN BURSARY WINNER (article first published : 2007-05-1)

Omphile Molusi became the first winner of the Brett Goldin Bursary at a function held at The Actors Centre in Johannesburg, a year after the brutal murders of actor Brett Goldin and his friend, fashion designer, Richard Bloom.

An excited Omphile Molusi said: "It feels likes it's a great journey I am on. I am overwhelmed and happy. It will be fundamental for me to contribute to theatre and arts communities, whatever I have learnt there. It is important that people respect theatre, and not those of us who are in it, but also the public at large. I plan to share this knowledge and experience with young people in my township and other townships and help aspiring actors to grow and send them on their journeys. I am grateful to the RSC, the Actors Centre and the Baxter Theatre Centre for this opportunity."

Brett Goldin and Richard Bloom were murdered just days before Brett was due to leave for Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was to perform the role of Guildenstern, in the Baxter Theatre Centre's production of Hamlet to be directed by the acclaimed Janet Suzman at the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company's Complete Works Festival.

The Brett Goldin Bursary Fund was founded immediately by the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, The Actors Centre in Johannesburg and the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town, in honour of his memory. Over the past few months auditions were held in Cape Town and Johannesburg and four finalists were selected. Jannes Eiselen, Ashleigh Harvey and Omphile Molusi were chosen from Johannesburg and Mbali Kgosidintsi from Cape Town.

Dorothy Ann Gould, one of the judges and Artistic Director at The Actor's Centre as well as a close Brett Goldin family friend says, "It has been a very emotional process for me because I was so close to Brett. I was just amazed at the quality of talent, commitment and passion for Shakespeare displayed by the actors who auditioned. I am excited to see what Opmphile will bring back to the community which he comes from, as well as to the arts community in South Africa. The process has been a great leveller by bringing together different groups of people who not only love Shakespeare share a love for this beautiful young actor."

The Brett Goldin Bursary Fund was kick-started by donations from RSC Associate Artist, Sir Antony Sher and Honorary RSC Associate, Janet Suzman.

Janet Suzman explains: "This fund has enabled a sort of cultural heart transplant. A young performer will experience something of what was so cruelly taken from Brett Goldin. I'm so pleased that out of bad comes some good. I congratulate the recipient and I wish him a fruitful time with the RSC."

Sir Antony Sher says, "The murder of Brett Goldin (along with Richard Bloom) a year ago sent shockwaves through the theatre communities of both South Africa and the U.K. Personally I found it especially haunting because of a sense of identification - a young South African actor dreaming of building a career overseas. That was Brett in 2006. And that was me in 1968. What if something calamitous had happened to me just before I could realise that dream? The RSC, The Actor's Centre and the Baxter Theatre have created the Brett Goldin Bursary to allow another young actor to experience what Brett was so cruelly robbed of. I know that this Bursary provides some comfort to Brett's grieving family - his mother Denise and sister Samantha - and, in a way, it comforts us all. Through the Bursary we can make something positive and strong out of something tragic and senseless, and this surely honours Brett's memory in the best possible way.”

Greg Doran, Chief Associate of the RSC agrees, "In Stratford upon Avon, we were all deeply saddened to hear of the murder of Brett Goldin. The Hamlet company, the first overseas visitors to our Complete Works Festival, arrived in a state of stunned shock. In performance every other line of the play seemed charged with extra significance. It was as if Shakespeare was responding with words to articulate and start to heal the burden of grief which lay so heavily on everyone there.

"The need to try and do something to help that healing process was very strong, and the notion of a bursary in Brett's name was devised, like so many other good ideas in Stratford, in the actors' pub, The Dirty Duck,” Greg Doran continues. “The bursary was born out of a determination to provide something of the opportunity which Brett was so looking forward to and was cruelly denied: a chance for a young South African actor to come to Stratford and have access to the sort of classical training enjoyed by members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. We all look forward to welcoming the winning candidate to Stratford, with open arms, in Brett's name. "

Omphile Molusi will work with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company and will travel to the UK during the week of June 11, returning to South Africa in the week of July 9. Funded by the RSC Artist Development Programme, the actor will receive transport to and from the UK, accommodation in Stratford with a daily allowance. The bursary also includes a return train fare to London, tickets for two London performances at Shakespeare's Globe and the National Theatre, tickets for all the Stratford productions as well as free access to other RSC events.

The work programme comprises attending all warm-ups, four hours of solo voice and verse classes each week, attending any Artist Development workshops held during the visit, attending technical rehearsals and other rehearsals at the directors' discretion, two sessions with a director or assistant director and the opportunity to attend Learning Department workshops. It is hoped that much of the educational experience will come from observation, discussion with personnel working in production, press and casting departments and through contact with other actors.




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