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10 March 2020 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Victor Sguassero (kykNET)
Chris Vorster
Chris was on stage in 'Die Hart Verklap' at the Toyota US Woordfees in Stellenbosch recently.

“Difficult and very strange,” is how Chris Vorster, veteran actor and Drama lecturer at the University of the Free State (UFS) describes his role as Bas Koorts in the supernatural thriller Die Spreeus

For Chris, the biggest challenge during the filming of Die Spreeus was to work in front of a green screen. “You never see the monsters and things attacking you, it is only added later on during the editing process,” he said. Therefore, he and his co-actors were expected to use their own imagination “to be frightened, and to duck and dive from something that does not exist.” 

This Afrikaans thriller series has recently been nominated in five categories of the South African Film and Television Awards, including Best Television Drama, Best Cinematography, and Original Sound and Sound Editing. 

Chris was also nominated for a Fiësta award in 2019 for his one-man performance in the theatre production, Die Hart verklap. “It is fantastic to still be recognised for my work,” he said, “but I also have to give recognition to Dion van Niekerk, because without a good director, any actor will be lost.” Van Niekerk also lectures Drama at the UFS.

Being a lecturer broadens his knowledge 

Chris joined the UFS Department of Drama and Theatre Arts in 2015 as lecturer in the programme for Film en Visual Media. “Everything I learn in the industry I apply as lecturer, and research and teaching feed more knowledge on acting, directing, and especially writing,” he said. After five years, being involved with the UFS Department of Drama is still exciting to him. “This is where both lecturers and students get encouraged to do more than just breathing.” 

With his busy schedule of teaching and acting, it remains important to him that South Africans are still able to tell stories – “in any language”. He considers it a privilege for anyone to work in their mother tongue. This is also why the symbiosis between his work as actor and lecturer is so appealing.

News Archive

Artistic development at UFS to transform the face of Bloemfontein creatively
2015-07-02

The 7-metre high ‘Urban Fox’ is one of Alex Rinsler's artworks adding a fragment of the wild to the city of Shanghai in China.

Bold, bright, and beautiful public art sculptures are in the inception phase at the university’s Bloemfontein Campus. Manchester-based public artist, Alex Rinsler, of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD)’s forum for artist development, is to install three enthralling sculptures in the city of Bloemfontein.

The PIAD forum for artist development is an initiative of the Vrystaat Arts Festival, formerly known as the Vryfees, which aims to celebrate art in the Free State by hosting experimental art practices. In its capacity as a PIAD partner, the University of the Free State promotes increased access to, and participation in, culture as a form of human development.

Presenting an artist’s talk titled ‘Urban Safari: Art in public space,’ on the Bloemfontein Campus recently Rinsler introduced himself and his creative ideas to students, staff, and the public at the Johannes Stegman Art Gallery. The talk served as an invitation to the active participation of Bloemfontein citizens in all phases leading to the installations. Dispersed across the Mangaung Metropolitan, the giant sculptures are intended to capture and reflect different aspects of the community’s lived experiences. 

As a public artist based in the United Kingdom (UK), Rinsler has exhibited in cities nationally and internationally, with the intention of bringing a touch of the wild to urban lives. His vision is to witness the development of cities into cultural boulevards, and explore “what we can do to bring back the sense of nature, the wild” by adding new symbolism to urban lifestyle.

“I believe in creating work accessible to the public, which stimulates conversation,” said the Clore Leadership Programme Fellow (University of Manchester) and Founder of Pirate Technics - an artistic practice company.

In 2012, he worked with 31 Master’s students from 24 countries on an icon for global peace named “Under the Baobab” in London. The colourful and magnificent Baobab tree made from pieces of fabric representing distinct cultures told the story of migration to London.

Rinsler is determined that the Bloemfontein “project, similar to the London installation, will create imagery that people will remember.”

Dr Ricardo Peach, Director of the Vrystaat Arts Festival and PIAD, hopes the project fosters diversity while producing a “communal cultural product." 

“What I know about Alex’s work is that he will be working with what he calls a self-selected community, people who are interested in this, and who want to work together to build these sculptures, as part as a process for them to get a sense of where they belong, and their input into the city. It’s about people telling their own stories.”

The public installations are a way of transforming the landscape, and connecting people of “a place like Bloemfontein where communities are often still so divided,” said Peach.

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