Sylvaine Strike is a multi-award winning and internationally celebrated South African director and theatre practitioner.
She graduated from the University of Cape Town’s distinguished Drama School and is an alumni of the revered L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, where she specialised in physical theatre and movement analysis in Paris.
Sylvaine’s significant contribution as performer, director, theatre-maker, and teacher has moved hearts and inspired minds. Her first break through at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda nearly two decades ago when she directed and co-devised the runaway success Baobabs Don’t Grow Here, for which she was awarded the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best New Director and the Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Festival is testament to this contribution.
From these humble beginnings, critically acclaimed work has continued to follow, earning her an extensive list of award-winning productions in which she has either performed or directed: Black and Blue; The Travellers; Coupé; The Butcher Brothers; The Table; The Miser; Tobacco; CARGO: Precious; Agreed; Miss Dietrich Regrets; Dop; Tartuffe by Molière; Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard, the highly acclaimed Endgame by Samuel Beckett, Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee and, most recently, the resoundingly successful Firefly devised by the company and nominated for four Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.
Sylvaine’s vast contribution to the South African Arts economy has been recognised by numerous artistic bodies, including: the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre, The kykNET Fiësta Awards, The Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, and the Naledi Theatre Awards. Her body of work was featured and celebrated at the 2014 National Arts Festival and in 2019, Sylvaine was conferred with the Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, a major accolade and impactful recognition of her significant contribution to the Arts both in South Africa and abroad.
As a practitioner, she is dedicated to nurturing young performers, directors, designers and stage managers. Sylvaine encourages the artists that she nurtures and works with to showcase themselves within the body work that she produces. Her role as mentor, theatre-maker and director comes with the responsibility of producing theatre for a contemporary South African generation, a challenge she is very passionate about.
Photograph by Martin Kluge