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Janni Younge

Creating magic you can see

Janni Younge has an honours degree in Fine Art (UCT), a DMA from the French National School of Puppetry Arts (ESNAM) and an MA in Theatre (UCT 2007). In 2003 she became CEO of UNIMA SA (the South African association of puppetry and visual performance) and founded her theatre company Sogo Visual Theatre. Sogo has produced several original works which have been performed nationally and internationally. Janni is director of Out The Box festival of puppetry and visual performance. She has been named Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre 2010.

Janni Younge

Janni Younge has an honours degree in Fine Art (UCT, first class, major sculpture), a DMA from the French National School of Puppetry Arts (ESNAM) where she studied from 1999 to 2002 and an MA (Masters) in Theatre (UCT 2007). In 2003 she became chairperson of UNIMA SA (the South African association of puppetry and visual performance) and founded her theatre company Sogo Visual Theatre.

Sogo Visual Theatre has produce several original works which have been performed widely including at Artscape (2003) and the Little Theatre (2005, 2006) as well as at the National Arts Festival Grahamstown (2005, 2007), Out The Box festival (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), the Kenyan International Puppetry festival (2006) and the International Festival of Puppets and Mime (Greece 2008). Sogo Visual Theatre produces and creates contemporary puppet theatre for adults and young audiences. Titles include Fineline, Elise’s Adventures in Congoland, Violet Rose Bite, Dolos and Thandi.

In 2004 Janni curated Patrimony an exhibition of Malian puppets which has toured SA and she designed and made the puppets for The Fire Raisers a Magnet production (nominated for a Fleur du Cap award).

From 2002-2005 Janni was part of the performing group Odd Enginears creating and performing with them including shows at Aardklop Oude Libertas, Artscape, The Cape Town Festival, and The NAF . In 2005 she was initiator and director of Out the Box: festival of puppetry and visual performance, (produced by UNIMA SA) now having completed its fourth year as a 10 day international festival.

In 2006 she launched the UNIMA SA Active Puppets training and development program. She co-curated, managed and hung At Arms Length an exhibition of Malian and South African puppets in New York. In 2007 she directed and designed Pulse of Mali for the Gold Restaurant. She was the head of the puppet department (studio and manipulation) on the television pilot for Z News (political satire) for which she was sent to France to train.

In 2008 Janni was flown to the UNIMA International congress in Perth where she was instrumental in the formation of the Africa commission for puppetry of which she is a member. She created the puppets and masks for FTH:K’s Pictures of you, created life-sized Elephant parade puppets (for Solms Delta) and produced and directed Shooting The Rain, a community theatre production about the effects of global warming which has been performed across South Africa (Johannesburg, Cpe Town and Uppington). Under Janni’s directorship, the activities of UNIMA SA have expanded as has its formal structures. She is now CEO of this organization which promotes the art of puppetry in South Africa.

In 2009 Janni made and choreographed the puppets for The Tempest, a Baxter Royal Shakespeare Company co-production which toured South Africa and the UK. Janni’s puppets were featured in five productions at the National Arts Festival 2009 including High Diving (Weekend Special Theatre), Kock Up (Conrad Koch) and Pictures Of You ( FTH:K) the highest grossing production on the fringe. Janni has designed puppets for several different commercial and television productions, has taught Sculpture and Theatre at the University of Cape Town and puppetry in many different contexts.

Janni has been named the 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist for theatre.

Comments (1)

Ouroboros Young Artist Award production 2010

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    Young Artist award production Ouroboros Premiered at teh National Arts festival 2010

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    Some Press on Ouroboros:

    Ouroboros is a unique production by Janni Younge Standard Bank Young Artist for Drama 2010. It is a visual theatre production, using puppetry and multimedia to weave a story of love, life and death.

    Theresa Edlmann (Cue Review July 3) describes Ouroboros as “a complex epic, and an ambitious directorial undertaking. Janni Younge provides a remarkable level of conceptual coherence, especially in her weaving of transitory everyday interactions with the symbolic and archetypal inner life of such moments.” The reviewer comments further that the puppets are “exquisitely crafted” the manipulation is “remarkable” that “the movements onstage unfold with a balletic sense of ease and fluidity” and that the show is marked by “images and the stories they depict, inhabiting a space beyond time, that stay with one long after the show is done.”

    Sheena Stannard (Artsblog- July 3 2010): “When I see shows like this I believe there is hope for the planet we are so blindly destroying with our eyes wide open. Poignant, visually lovely, beautifully crafted… the show is gentle and full of heart. I let go and allowed myself to be swept into it, as if in a dream…”

    Fiona Gordon (Creativity Thinks 07/12/10): “Young Artist for Theatre Janni Younge’s ‘Ouroboros’ …was my ‘if you see one thing’ prediction for this year’s festival. It was …every bit the visual and theatrical treat I had hoped for. I sat open-mouthed through most of it, in awe at the detail. Using shadows with the ‘multimedia projection’ backdrop, much of the story is told through the manipulation of diminutive, but incredibly life-like moving puppets, by a khaki-clad team of puppeteers. The dream-like quality of the experience contributes to the subject matter which, through two characters who interact with one another at various stages of their lives, explores the cyclical of aspects nature, through love, dreams and death.”

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18 Aug 2010, 9:58
 
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