Yaël Farber

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(19*-) Actress, playwright , director and producer.

(Her name also written Yael Farber in many publications)


Born in Johannesburg, and studied at University of Witwatersrand, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Art (Honours).


She worked as an actress and director in South Africa till 1998, then left the country when she was 30, to work and study abroad. Over the years she has thus attended several international workshops over the years and worked as resident artist in numerous places. Among them have been The Lincoln Theatre Directors' Workshop (New York, 1999); The Joseph Papp Public Theatre (New York, 2000); Mabou Mines Theatre Company (New York, 2001); In Transit Laboratory at Haus de Kulturen der Welt (Berlin 2001); Sundance Theatre Laboratory (Utah 2001); Anna Deavere Smith's 'Bodies on the Line' Artist Residency (New York, 2010); Maryland University (Washington) (2010).

In 2004 she founded The Farber Foundry, her own production company. In 2011 she became Head of the Directing Program at the National Theatre School of Canada (Montreal), as well as Playwright-in-Residence for Nightwood Theatre (Toronto).

Farber has retained strong emotional and professional links with the country of her birth, and much of her work is rooted in her South African experiences, and the plays are often performed there.

As actress

Among her roles as actress have been Beau Jest (1993) and Kafka Dances (1996) (Fleur du Cap Award).

As director

She credits Lara Foot with having led her into directing, a move which has seen her develop into a multiple award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim, with productions that have toured the world extensively (including in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, across Europe and Africa) since 2000.

Her directing credits include Shopping and Fucking (1999), A Woman in Waiting (in collaboration with Thembi Mtshali-Jones), Sezar (2001), He Left Quietly (2002), Amajuba (2003), Molora (2008), Ram: The Abduction of Sita into Darkness (2011), Mies Julie (2012), The Crucible (filmed version of the Old Vic production, 2014).

After 2004 the majority of her stage productions were created and toured under the name of The Farber Foundry.

As playwright

Her plays and radical adaptations seen in South Africa include A Woman in Waiting (2000), Sezar (2001), He Left Quietly (written in collaboration with Duma Kumalo), Amajuba (2003), Molora (2003), Ram: The Abduction of Sita into Darkness (2011), Mies Julie (2012), Nirbhaya (Farber and cast, 2013).

Many of her plays and adaptations have been published by Oberon Books, including Theatre as Witness: Three Testimonial Plays from South Africa (Oberon Books, 2008), Molora: An Adaptation of the Oresteia Trilogy (Oberon Books, 2008), Ram: The Abduction of Sita into Darkness (Oberon Books, 2011), Molora (Oberon Books, 20**) Mies Julie ( (Oberon Books, 2011), ) Plays One (Oberon Books, 2015).


She and her work have garnered a large number of national and international awards since 1999, among them FNB Vita Best Actress Award (1996), nine National FNB Vita Awards (for Shopping and Fucking, 1999), BBC Gold Sony Award and Scotsman Fringe First Award (for Woman in Waiting, 2000), 4 FNB National Vita Awards (for Sezar, 2001), Standard Bank Artist of the Year Award (2003); Angel Herald Award, Edinburgh(for Amajuba, 2003); Naledi Best Director Award and Naledi Best Cutting Edge Production Award (for Molora, 2008), the Best Of Edinburgh Fringe Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award and an Edinburgh Herald Angel Award (for Mies Julie, also voted one of the top ten plays of 2012 by both The Guardian and the New York Times); the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, the Scotsman Fringe First and the Herald Angel Award for Outstanding New Play (for Nirbhaya, 2013).


Die Beeld 26 June 2001.


Sharmini Brookes "Yaël Farber - a woman driven by passion" ArtsLink 03/09/2015[1]


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