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Monday, November 5, 2018


The Pietermaritzburg Arts Kollective (The PAK) is a highly energized and committed organisation providing training opportunities for those wishing to enter the theatre industry or hone their current skills.

Director of PAK is actor Zenzelisphesihle Sparky Xulu supported by facilitators Nompilo Jili, Nqubeko “Chase” Sithole and Breeh Cele.

Sparky Xulu is a South African theatre and television actor. Xulu graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts (Drama and Film), he had previously been at Rhodes University where he also studied drama. He has been a freelance actor ever since. He has performed in various tv, film and theatre productions.

His love for dance saw him being invited to choreograph his first professional dance piece at the Jomba Contemporary Dance Festival in 2011. In 2012, Xulu joined Janet Buckland’s theatre company Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company, where he worked as an actor and workshop facilitator for three years. In his time at Ubom! he got to work with the likes of Andrew Buckland, Daniel Buckland, Rob Murray and Jessica Harrison.

His transition to television took place in 2013 where he played the role of Vukile in SABC1’s telenovela Mfolozi Street season. Since then Xulu has appeared in various successful shows such as Isibaya, It’s Complicated season 1 and 2, Z’bondiwe and Mfolozi Street season 2. Xulu recently worked on a 3D motion capture animation feature film Inside Job, under the direction of Daniel Buckland, where Xulu plays the supporting role of school gym teacher Mr Hernandez.

Facilitator Nompilo Jili is a 24 year old theatre and television actress. She is currently doing her second year masters study in Drama and Performance studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Jili graduated with a cum laude in her honours year, she has since been a freelance actress and has performed in various theatre shows and most recently appeared on SABC 2’s soapie Muvhango.

Jili has performed at the annual Hilton Arts Festival, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, The HIV awareness Sex Actually festival as well as the newly-founded Cape Town Fringe Festival. Bald Prima Donna, And The Girls In Their Sunday Dresses, Match Girl, Her Cradle and Sarafina! are some of the shows that Jili has played lead roles in. She not only boasts experience as an actress but she is also an up and coming theatre director. Mbongeni Ngema’s Asinamali, Mike van Graan’s Green Man Flashing and her devised show Politrics (which Jili also wrote) are amongst the shows that she has directed. She is currently devising a new theatre show where she is tackling issues of identity and feminism.

Jili’s love for the arts and education has also seen her being a drama tutor and workshop facilitator. She hopes to use her experience and education as a tool to empower young girls to reach for their dreams and to also cope and tackle issues that face them on a daily basis.

Facilitator Nqubeko “Chase” Sithole Chase is a 24 year-old actor who studied drama at UKZN. In his professional capacity, He has been involved in dance pieces that have toured festivals such as the Jomba Fringe Festival and Dance Umbrella. In his capacity as an actor, he has performed at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Cape Town Fringe Festival and the Hexagon Theatre. Asinamali, Mooi Street Moves, Rituale Romannum and Young Gifted and Gorgeous are amongst some of the plays Chase performed in these venues. Sarafina! the musical is the latest of Chase’s work where he played the supporting role of Stimela, he wooed the crowd with his charm and vocal capabilities which made him a crowd favourite.

Chase joined the H.D.I youth marketing company where he toured schools teaching children about the dangers of underage drinking. Chase is not only a performer and dancer but he is also a highly recommended camp facilitator. He was trained by one of the biggest organizations in the world, Youth For Christ. He has since worked on multiple school camps and has been involved in orchestrating the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s orientation programme for many years. He is currently working on his one-man show Avocado that will tour schools and festivals later this year.

Facilitator and actress Breeh Cele is a Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours graduate from University of KZN, with majors in Drama and Performance Studies as well as Media and Film Studies. She is a professional dancer, actress, and theatre director. She currently works as a theatre technician at The Hexagon Theatre.

Breeh is the manager of a local musical group, Acoustiq Assassins. She has worked with Noma Khumalo on countless projects, prior and post her being crowned as the Idols winner (2016).

She recently choreographed for Noma Khumalo’s latest music video, Moving On, which is currently airing on South African music channels. Her directorial works include The Bald Prima Donna that was first staged at The Hexagon Theatre and at The National Arts Festival in 2014. Boesman and Lena which was funded by the Arts and Culture Trust in 2014, and The Girls in Their Sunday Dresses which was staged at the Cape Town Fringe Festival and the Hexagon Theatre in 2016.

Her dance piece Ubuhle bemvelo, was used at the launch of the Winston Churchill Theatre 2013 and was also performed at Dance Umbrella and Jomba Fringe Festival in 2014. She also choreographed for the Hexagon Theatre’s production of Sarafina! (2016). She is currently teaching 1st year movement classes and mentoring UKZN honours students about dance facilitation.

She has starred in productions such as A Thousand Cranes, Pretty Piece Of Flesh, 1x1=3, Xeno, Ubuntombi. One Lonely Light is a show she performed at The National Arts Festival in 2013. Her experience of drama and education come from running a drama educational programme at Sobantu High School in 2012 and was part of a project called Kickstarters by Assitej South Africa which focused on Artist Facilitation and training Creative Arts teachers in KZN and Free State.

As part of one of its main goals in enhancing the arts in communities, The PAK has a set of structured workshops for high school students. These workshops cover both practical and theoretical elements of the Drama Curriculum. They also present The Ultimate Drama Camp, a four hour workshop session with high school drama students as well as the PAK Drama Camp, a one-day workshop session with Grade 12 drama students.

Another project is The Pietermaritzburg Arts Kollective Summer School, a two-week long summer school offering professional and practical hands-on training for participants between the ages of 16 and 30. PAK also has shows that are available for schools to book.

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