John Nankin (19**-) Designer, actor, stage manager, director.
John Nankin joined The Space Theatre in 1973 as a stage designer and set builder directing plays in the venue’s fringe under the mentorship of Brian Astbury. In the late 1970s, he participated in experimental performance workshops with Chas Unwin, Jacqui Singer, Marcel van Heerden, Barney Simon and others; before co-initiating the avant-garde and now historic Glass Theatre with Chris Pretorius in Cape Town in 1981, a group whose ground-breaking work was informed by a return to Surrealism and Dada.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
His work for The Space in the 1970s include designs for Don't Drink the Water, Edith Piaf – Je Vous Aime, Endgame, The Exception and the Rule, The First South African, The Glass Menagerie, Lesson in Blood and Roses, Luv, Medea, My Husband’s wild desires almost drove me mad, Outcry, Patty Hearst, Play it again, Sam; Sticks and Bones, Superman and Treats.
He created a work called Mama Papa Kaka in collaboration with Ivor Powell in 1983, as part of the first program shown by Possession, a Johannesburg-based artists’ collective, associated with performance and installation. Onto this relic from his ‘childhood’, Nankin has grafted a new work in 2012, A leg to stand on.
Insig, 31 January 1989.
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