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YAEL FARBER (article first published : 2003-06-16)

Last year’s Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for drama,Yael Farber, graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a BA Dramatic Art (Hons) in 1993 and then spent the next three years acting. "It was Lara Foot-Newton who saw me directing at university and gave me the first break," said Farber, "she put up the funding for my first play, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me."

From there it was no looking back. Yael's highly successful production of Shopping and F**king received seven National Vita Awards including best director and best production. She then went on to direct Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye in New York. It was here that she wrote and directed A Woman in Waiting. This production has achieved many awards including a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival, a Best Performer at the Carthage Festival, A Best New Script Vita Nomination, and recently won the prestigious Gold Sony Award for Radio Drama (for the BBC recording of the piece).

Since then there have been hits like Switch Track, Amajuba and SeZar. SeZar was recently awarded four Vita awards, including best production and best director. Since its première in Grahamstown, the show has toured the UK twice.

He Left Quietly, a collaboration with death row survivor Duma Kumalo, was first premièred in Berlin before being presented on the main programme at last year's National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and thereafter at the Spoornet State Theatre and more recently played in Amsterdam.

Farber saw Duma acting in The Story I Am About To Tell and was so moved by what he had to say as well as his acting ability, that she wanted him to tell his story. He Left Quietly evolved and it has been an enormous success.

Of the Standard Bank Art Award, "this is a dream come true", says Farber. "I only wish my father had been around to share this with me". Yael was inspired by her Dad's passion for people and story-telling, and the name of her newly founded company Arc Productions, comes from the name of the orphanage 'Arcadia', where her Dad was brought up.

Yael Farber is one of South Africa's true proteges and this award comes at an important stage in her career.




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