Neil Coppen

Writer, director, actor

Durban-based actor, writer and director Neil Coppen started out like many of his peers � performing Shakespeare. That was until he produced his breakthrough script, Tree Boy (directed by Libby Allen), a piece of experimental theatre that combined various forms of animation and live performance and won the Durban Theatre Award for Best New South African Script. Multitalented Coppen may have won the 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year award for theatre, but he doesn't plan to limit his creative focus. He recently took part in the 2010 Reasons to Live in a Small Town project, which saw him join artist Vaughn Sadie in "taking over� the town of Dundee in KwaZulu- Natal, exploring its history through art interventions that involved public spaces and local inhabitants. Coppen says he is "interested in exploring how tangled our histories are as South Africans and how we all inherit and lug about ancestral baggage from past generations�. � Lisa van Wyk