Jay Pather

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Jay Pather (19**-). Actor, dancer, teacher and choreographer.




He was a Fulbright scholar at New York University with a MA in theatre and dance.


Became a senior lecturer at the University of Zululand's drama Department (1986-1988), a member of the Jazzart Dance Theatre [1] in Cape Town from 1991-1993in 1986, then and in 1996 became artistic director of KwaZulu Natal based Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre [2].

Has directed and choreographed over one hundred productions nationally as well as internationally in India, Angola, Madagascar, London, Germany, Australia, Sri Lanka and New York. Pather has created large scale opening works for the Commonwealth Heads of State Conference, the World Economic Forum and the International Convention Centre in Durban.

In 2005 he visited Havana on a government delegation investigating cultural exchange with Cuba.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

At UniZulu, he directed The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (1986), The Island (1988) and The Tempest in Africa (1988)

Nadaraja (Scenaria, Vol. 65, Iss 147, , Apr, 4, 1993.)

He has appeared in Medea (1994) and did the choreography for As You Like It (2009).

Pather has also conceived and directed a range of commissioned works. These include A South African Siddhartha and Home commissioned by the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, and Ahimsa Ubuntu commissioned by Sonia Gandhi and the South African High Commission in India.

He received a commission from the FNB Dance Umbrella to create a full length work entitled The Beautiful Ones Must Be Born which was performed at the Constitution Hill in Johannesburg and at the International Writers' Festival in Durban in 2004/5.

Home, a dance-drama choreographed for the Grahamstown Festival by Jay Pather in 2003. He also choreaographed Die Vuurvoël.

The Firebird.

Pather produced the astounding CityScapes in which he took dance right into the heart of the city of Durban, installing Pantsula dancers on the 320 West Street escalators and a ball-gowned, abseiling dancer descending from Musgrave Centre.

Directed Some Mothers' Sons (2005, 2006), What Remains (2017).

He was on the panel of judges for the Ovation Awards in 2013.

He is a patron of the STAND Foundation.

Awards, etc

A recipient of several regional FNB Vita Awards for Best Choreography.

He was one of the winners of the Heritage Award (The Heritage Awards are part of the Heritage Arts Festival, hosted annually by Kizo Gallery at Gateway, Durban. It is a highproflle event which sees six South Africans honoured for their contribution towards the preservation and promotion of South African heritage and culture) in 2009.

Winner Fleur du Cap Best Director 2017 for What Remains.

In 2004 Pather received a Brett Kebble Art Award for his installation performance Kitchen.


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Wikipedia [3].

Rhodes, Arts of Africa [4].

Sunday Tribune, 13 September 2009.

Ketu H. Katrak. 2021. Jay Pather, Performance and Spatial Politics in South Africa Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

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