Tara Louise Notcutt

Tara Louise Notcutt has theatre in her blood. Born to artistic parents — her dad, a drama teacher and her mum, a dance teacher — Notcutt earned a BA in theatre and performance at the University of Cape Town and co-founded the company The Pink Couch in 2009, where she is currently the artistic director.

“It’s more of a collective than a company and the most rewarding part of it is being able to tell the stories we want with support and help from everyone in the group,” says the 25-year-old Notcutt, with the energy and enthusiasm you would expect from the winner of the Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for New Directors at the Fleur du Caps in 2010.

Notcutt was invited to perform …miskien at the Amsterdam Fringe 2011 and Fringe World in Perth 2012. In 2011, she was also part of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in New York, where she worked with some of the world’s leading young directors. “I have never felt as proudly South African as I did when I was there. We live in an amazing country of incredible opportunity and I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else in the world.”

When she is not writing, directing and producing her own work, Notcutt works with other companies, including Maynardville Open Air Shakespeare. At this year’s National Arts Festival Notcutt will be directing no fewer than six productions, including the popular …miskien and Mafeking Road, based on short stories by Herman Charles Bosman.

Notcutt feels theatre has a way of reaching people and telling stories in a way that television and movies can’t. “You are right there sharing an experience with live people, watching a live and meaningful performance,” she says. “No performance will ever be exactly the same so every night is really special.”

— Zeenat Mahomed