Marlene le Roux has been appointed in the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Artscape Theatre Centre. She is the first woman and black person to fill this role since its inception in 1971.
Joining Artscape fourteen years ago as Director of Audience Development and Education and acting as CEO for the past year, Le Roux has made significant differences to the lives of thousands of people through Arts and Culture who have visited the Artscape Theatre Centre. At the same time she has empowered and supported disadvantaged groups finding fulfilling careers. Her outreach projects are legendary – taking complete productions to rural areas and communities where education and workshops are included.
After matriculating at Bergrivier Secondary School, le Roux graduated with degrees and diplomas at the University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape and University of Stellenbosch. Her dissertations included: Policy and Development, Education, Music, Management and Leadership.
Recognised globally, Le Roux has been awarded by many countries for her significant projects where the arts have been used as a means for social cohesion and for promoting artists with disabilities. They include:
The Flemish Government for commitment to developing, affirming and advocating indigenous languages such as Afrikaans and IsiXhosa (2014); The Mkodaba Award from the National Department of Arts and Culture for making theatre accessible to all and for new works developed that contribute to nation building (2014); Deutschen Afrika Preis from the German Government for work done in disadvantaged and minority areas (2012); Received the Ordre National Du Merite from the French Government (2012); Mayor’s Medal – Category Cultural Affairs 2011; Chevalier des Ordres et des Lettres(French Knighthood in the Performing Arts) (2002); Desmond Tutu Legendary Award (2001); Shoprite/Checkers Woman of the Year – Art Category (1998).
Each year Artscape houses important festivals. As many have become annual events they are developed further to address the current issues and needs. Le Roux works closely with these projects through educators, professional artists, medical practitioners and others. Well-known are the Women’s Festival, Youth Jazz Festival, Youth Music Festival (Classical) Schools Arts and Play Festivals. Heritage month is also observed and celebrated with various productions and events.
Says Le Roux in looking back and to the future: “I am enormously grateful to Mr Michael Maas, who retired as CEO last year, for his guidance and support. I so appreciate the confidence shown to me by my colleagues – staff and award winning technical teams – as well the Artscape Council chaired by Prof Somadoda Fikeni. I believe together we can keep the arts alive in a centre for all people with exciting, meaningful work alongside local and international artists and organisations as we have done in the past.”
“With the huge development of the foreshore precinct, the new Chris Barnard Hospital, extension of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and Artscape’s extensions, we plan to accommodate thousands of people visiting and working in the area with exciting projects and facilities all year round. We have a theatre centre like no other in the southern hemisphere.”
* Visit www.artscape.co.za.