Brent Meersman

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(1967- ) Journalist, photographer, novelist, poet, food writer and theatre critic.


He was born in Cape Town. His father was a Belgian immigrant and his mother, Shirley Morris, a painter.

His first job was as a news photographer in 1989 at the height of the turbulence that saw the closing days of apartheid. Brent has had an eclectic career. As a business entrepreneur, property developer and managing director of a hotel, among others. He has also acted as performing artists' manager, producer, marketer and impresario in the theatre world.

In 2003, he organized the 7th World Congress on Art Deco for South Africa. He has spent much of his time traveling – at last count 41 countries – having visited every continent except Antarctica.

He teaches a semester course on Arts Journalism at the University of Cape Town in the Film and Media Studies Department for third year students.

In 2004, he had a brief career in a different kind of theatre – politics. He was the Campaign Manager for the Independent Democrats in the 2004 General Election and later served as Patricia de Lille’s Chief of Staff in her parliamentary office.

Work in arts and theatre

In 2003 became the performing arts critic for the Mail and Guardian covering theatre, opera, ballet and dance. He has also written extensively for New Africa Analysis magazine, London, reviewed work for the BBC and the London Financial Times, and contributed to the Sunday Independent, Business Day, The Witness, Cape Times, Die Burger, The Weekender, The Wry Republic, Politicsweb, and as a M&G Thought Leader. Meersman is also on the editorial board of Critical Stages, the journal of the International Association of Theatre Critics.

In 2005, he started South Africa's first theatre blog:

Besides his poetry and short stories, he has published three novels:Primary Coloured (2007), Reports Before Daybreak and Five Lives at Noon (2013).

Articles on South African theatre include:

"Mike van Graan", published in Martin Middeke, Peter Paul Schnierer and Greg Homann (editors). The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary South African Theatre. London: Bloomsbury Publishing: 2015.

"Waiting for Godot". Journal of Beckett Studies 21.2 (2012)A Review

"Are arts festivals still about art?" in Theatre, Yale University, Vol41, No 1, 2011.

"From Ipi Tombi to iMumbo Jumbo" in Theatre Topics, Amsterdam University Press, 2010.

"Cultural Weapons: Violence in South Africa and its depiction on the stage". in Theatre and Humanism, St Kliment Ohridski University Press, Bulgaria, 2009.

"Democracy, Capitalism and Theatre in the new South Africa" in the South African Theatre Journal, University of Stellenbosch, Vol 21: 2007.

"Portrait of an Artist as a Dramatic Work: Orfeus" in Critical Stages, Journal of the IATC, Spring 2010.

"The Generation Gap and the South African Critic", Baltic Theatre Festival, St Petersburg, Russia. 2007

"Forgiveness in South African Theatre". Paper delivered at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa. 2008.

Sources [] Saturday, April 06, 2013

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