Attracting a bigger audience to the theatre is one of the main goals Vianney Farmer has for his young publication, South African Theatre Magazine (SATMag).
As its founder and editor-in-chief, Farmer is giving the theatrical industry its own mouthpiece and making people more aware of what’s on and what’s worth seeing.
“My aim as editor is to promote South African theatre and its artists and, most importantly, to produce a platform where young and established theatre-makers can obtain exposure for their excellence and along with that, bring audiences back to the theatre,” he says. “I hope this magazine will inspire artists to continue to create exciting works, for the reader to make positive contributions to theatre and for South Africa to recognise the value and importance of its theatre, because theatre in South Africa is in actual fact alive! This is what I give back to a craft that has aided in shaping my being.”
Farmer (26) is no slouch on stage himself: he starred in Equus and won the Best Actor Award for his portrayal of Dr Martin Dysart at the Glass Crown Awards in 2011. He’s also appeared in Verwagtings, Outers, Pillowman, In Our Blood, Verve, Glitches, Crave, the one-man show Simfonia, and produced and starred in Porcelein at the State Theatre. He also produced Suster, which recently won two awards from Die Reviewer.
A more unusual role came in ONSkuld – ‘n Mobile Thriller, the first “mobile thriller” ever staged in South Africa. Audience members meet the actors and literally join them in a car as the actors “get into character” for a show they are preparing for. Farmer then produced and starred in the follow-up, aLEXA, and is starring in the third instalment of these mobile thrillers, bRENT.
He formed his own company, VNA Productions, to help other young artists to learn, hone their skills and find their voice and space within the industry. He enjoys producing works that heighten awareness about the issues that ail society.
“I love being a theatre artist as it provides me the opportunity to create work that evokes conversations with the human soul,” he says. “I take delight in playing eccentric characters that allow me to delve deep into the human psyche, to voice out the unique tales of our unique country and the world beyond it.” — Lesley Stones