Actress, Puppeteer, Writer
Date of Birth: 27 December 1982
Height: 1.63m Hair: Brown Eyes: Green
Drivers License: Yes
Languages: Afrikaans, English, Sign Language
Skills: Clowning, Mask performance, Mask making, Puppetry, Improvisation, Workshop and Residency creator and facilitator, Yoga, Directing, Devising, Writing, Singing, Dancing, Contact Improvisation, Accents (American, British)
In 2005 Liezl completed her BA Honours degree in Live Performance at AFDA where she won the best actress award for her role in the short film Hollywood in My Huis that was screened on Mnet, Dstv and SABC 2. In 2006 she performed in ‘Surfacing’ an original piece devised and directed by Yvette Pelser that premiered in Grahamstown. Also in 2006 Liezl was invited to perform with Theatresports in Cape Town and The Bonfire Theatre Company. In May 2006 she joined FTH:K (from the hip: khulumakahle) as a first year trainee and completed SLED’S level 1 and 2 sign language course, facilitated various workshops and performed in South Africa’s first professional Deaf and Hearing clowning production, GUMBO directed by Tanya Surtees. In 2007 GUMBO did a national tour of South Africa including various performances and workshops at schools and institutions across the country.
In 2007 GUMBO also performed and offered workshops at the Festival of Fame in Johannesburg, the Grahamstown Festival as part of the Cape Town Edge, the Hilton Arts festival and various schools festivals and toured internationally to Germany performing and offering workshops in Munich, Berlin and Freiberg. Also in 2007 Liezl performed in FTH: K’s integrated end of year production ‘NUFF SED’ devised and directed by Rob Murray. Also in 2007 Liezl organised and led a one week integrated residency with Lysander Barends in Lady Grey and was invited back in 2008.
In 2008 Liezl formed part of the creative collaboration ‘A Conspiracy of Clowns’ a special project of FTH: K with Rob Murray to originate, devise and perform in ‘Pictures of You’. ‘Pictures of You’ premiered at the National Arts festival as part of the Cape Town Edge, performed and offered workshops at the National Schools Festival and OUT THE BOX festival in Cape Town. Liezl also performed in GUMBO at the National Arts Festival as part of the Cape Town Edge. GUMBO was also invited to perform a season at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. Also in 2008 Liezl directed ‘Ek Roep Vir Jou Vanaand’, an original Deaf production devised by Lysander Barends and Marlon Snyders. ‘Ek Roep Vir Jou Vanaand’ Premiered at the De la Batt School for Deaf children in Worcester after which it was invited back to perform at the Deaf Indaba held in Worcester. ‘Ek Roep Vir Jou Vanaand’ also showcased a work in progress performance at The Intimate Theatre in Cape Town. In 2008 Liezl completed her third year as a trainee at FTH:K and accepted a position as a professional member of the company in 2009.
In 2009 ‘Pictures of You’ was invitedto perform a season at the Baxter studio in Cape Town with rave reviews and great success resulting in a follow up season at the Golden Arrow studio in 2010. In 2009 ‘Pictures of You’ also performed at the Festival of Fame in Johannesburg and the Hilton festival in Kwazulu Natal. ‘Pictures of You’ became the highest grossing theatre production on the Grahamstown festival fringe in 2009. Liezl also performed in the brand new FTH:K work QUACK! Which premiered at the 2009 National Arts Festival. She was also invited to tour to Deaf and Hearing Schools in the Western Cape with her directing piece, ‘Ek Roep vir Jou Vanaand’. The tour ended with another run at the Intimate Theatre in Cape Town.
In 2009 Liezl performed in ‘GUMBO’ for the final time when the show was invited to perform as part of Proyecto 34°S in Buenos Aires in Argentina. Liezl also performed as the female lead in the fist full length Afrikaans Horror Film, ‘Lyfstraf’, which will be released in 2011. In 2009 Liezl also attended a 6 day workshop, ‘from the neutral mask to the red nose’, led by Giovanni Fusetti as part of an audition process to be accepted to his school, Helikos, in Italy. Liezl has been accepted to the school and will start her studies when funding becomes available.
In 2010 ‘Pictures of You’ won three awards, two Fleur du Cap theatre awards and one Ovation award for theatre at the National Arts Festival. In 2010 Liezl performed in three shows at the National Arts Festival, the most recent one being the adaptation of Lara Foot Newton’s ‘WOMB TIDE’ which premiered on the Arena program at the National Arts Festival. She also performed ‘QUACK!’ and ‘Pictures of You’ on the Grahamstown fringe and the National School’s festival. In 2010 Liezl performed ‘QUACK!’ and ‘WOMB TIDE’ at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg as part of FTH:K’s listen with your eyes festival. ‘WOMB TIDE’ was also invited to do a season at the Golden Arrow studio at the Baxter Theatre at the end of 2010. At the end of 2010 Liezl was mentioned as one of the four best actresses in South Africa for her role in as the Mother in ‘WOMB TIDE’. Liezl was later nominated for a Fleur du Cap best actress award for her role in ‘WOMB TIDE’.
In 2011 Liezl performed ‘Pictures of You’ at the Klein Karoo Kunste Fees in Oudshoorn as part of the first ‘Iets Anders’ initiative to take place at an Afrikaans festival. She also returned to the National Arts Festival with FTH:K’s first production to premiere as part of the Main festival programme ‘BENCHMARKS’ , an honour which the company has spent six years working for. Liezl alsoperformed in ‘Kardiavale’, a brand new work produced by the Conspiracy of Clowns, which performed as part of the National Arts Festival Arena programme and at the National Schools festival. ‘Kardiavale’ and ‘Benchmarks’ also performed at OUT THE BOX Festival in Cape Town. Liezl also performed in ‘GUILOTENNE’ as part of OUT THE BOX Festival’s Ixonga project in collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company. In early November, Liezl performed in FTH:K’s end of year performance ‘Office Block’. Liezl also performed in ‘Other People’s Lives’ , a play written by Amy Jephta and Directed by Alex Halligey at the Art Scape Arena.
In 2012 Liezl was invited to join UBOM! Eastern Cape Drama Company in Grahamstown. She co devised and performed in four productions the first of which was HUSH, directed by Madele Vermaak, an AIDS awareness play aimed at young people entering the chaotic world of sex and identity in high school and varsity. The play performed and toured in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng as part of the Drama For Life Sexactually Festival where it performed in prisons in and around Johannesburg. The second, “The Dogs Must Be Crazy”, Directed by Rob Murray and originally written and devised by Mike van Graan in 1991. The original play had no existing text because of the fear of censorship in pre democracy South Africa because of its blatant political satire aimed at exposing the government at the time through the eyes of a pack of dogs. This gave us freedom to interpret the current political climate in a biting piece of political satire through the eyes of a pack of dogs who have been around to witness the fall of both governments. Black clown noses in a silent film style, this piece relied on detailed physicality in a non-verbal landscape. “The Dogs Must Be Crazy” performed and toured Nationally and internationally, performing at HIFA (Harare international festival of the Arts), Grahamstown National Arts Festival and various schools festivals around South Africa. Liezl also performed opposite Andrew Buckland in Rob Murray’s “Through Blue” recreated for UBOM! As part of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Based on “Master Misery”, a short story by Truman Capote and originally devised and performed as part of Rob Murray’s MA in 2000, the show deals with its poignant tag line, ‘How long can you survive before selling your dreams?’ Liezl also performed in UBOM!’s children production “Eco Wolf and The Three Pigs” which performed to children in Grahamstown and East London and also performed as part of the Assitej family venue at
the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.
The Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Rhodes University approved Liezl’s registration for the degree of Master of Arts (Cwk/Thesis) in Drama in the Department of Drama, full time, in attendance from 2013 till December 2014. Professor A Buckland as Liezl’s supervisor. Prof. Juanita Finestone-Praeg is her co-supervisor. Liezl completed her first year MA with a distinction from her two research papers and will complete her practice lead research project and thesis by the end of 2014. In 2013 she also had the honour of collaborating and performing with Andrew Buckland in Crazy in Love which premiered at the National Arts Festival 2013, won an ovation award and was invited to perform at the Amsterdam fringe festival in 2014. Liezl also created two original practice lead performance pieces Piet se Kinders and Optelgoed as part of her master’s degree. He also fulfilled a lifelong dream of working with Compagnie Philippe Genty in France as part of a two week Visual Theatre project which culminated in her show Optelgoed which she directed with seven Rhodes Drama students.
In 2014, Liezl’s one woman show, devised as her final Master’s production, Piet se Optelgoed won a silver Ovation award at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, was invited to be part of the inaugural Cape Town Fringe Festival and to perform at the 2015 Amsterdam Fringe Festival. Crazy in Love was also invited to be part of the first Cape Town Fringe Festival and won the best international production award at the 2014 Amsterdam Fringe Festival. Hannah Lax’s Solo in which Liezl performed won the best student production at the 2014 Grahamstown Arts festival. Liezl also finished her Master of Arts in Drama in 2014 with a high distinction for her production Piet se Optelgoedandgraduated with Distinction in 2015.
In 2015 Crazy in Love performed its first season at the Market Theatre in the Barney Simon Theatre. Piet se Optelgoed performed at the SANAA festival at Moyo Johannesburg, the Grahamstown National Arts Festival and will perform at the Lady Grey Arts Festival in Lady Grey and POPArt in Johannesburg as part of women's month in August. Piet se Optelgoed will then perform at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival in September.
In 2016 Piet se Optelgoed has been invited to perform at Woordfees inStellenboch. She also devised Hearts Hotel as part of a conspiracy of clowns for the National Arts Festival Arena program. This collaboration included Director James Cunningham, veteran physical theatre performer, Toni Morkel and shadow puppeteer and actress Christelle van Graan. She also started teaching at AFDA Johannesburg as a full time lecturer and researcher.
In 2017 she continues to grow as a lecturer at AFDA Johannesburg and forms part of the cast of Ryk Hatting’s Sing jy van Bomme,commissioned by the University of Stellenboch and Woordfees and directed by Gerrit Schoonhooven.
Also in 2017/ 2018 Liezl starred as Sussie Cilliers in Reza de Wet’s African Gothic directed by Alby Michaels for which she was nominated for best actress at the 2019 Naledi Awards. In 2019 she had the honour to perform in Athol Fugard’s Statements after an arrest under the immorality act directed by Greg Karvellas. The production was nominated for five Kanna awards including best actress at the 2019 KNNK Arts Festival. Also in 2019 Liezl won the Broadway world SA best actress award for her role in Statements After an Arrest under The Immorality Act.
In 2020 Liezl performed in Nico Scheeper’s ensemble production Engel By Die Dam and Hennie van Greunen’s rendition of Erika Harris’s debut play Medium rare – Lirieke vir Jamie and Danny at Woordfees just before Covid hit.
Liezl formed part of the ensemble who remotely created ‘Neighbours’ for The National Arts Festival Online offering in collaboration with Fakugesi due to the Corona Pandemic. Liezl made her TV debut as Detective Lena Schoeman in the KyKNet Mini Series ‘Siende Blind’. She also had the honour of playing Minette in Season 3 of KyKNet’s Die Boekklub.
While still lecturing full time at AFDA, 2021 saw Liezl play Josephine Kraut in KyKNet’s Die Byl Season 3.