Choreography: Athina Vachla

Performer: Levern Botha

Lighting: Guy Nelson

A psychographic portrait of a ring girl … This is a solo piece that investigates the personal agony of a female character who calls the rounds in the boxing fights. Deadringer, a commission from First Physical Theatre Company, has also been part of a full length work called In the Ring, a SAHUDA awarded hybrid event combining the authentic language of boxing with dance, in a sport-theatre performance.



Choreographer: Nomcebisi Moyikwa

Performers: Maipelo Gabang and Ntombizandile Nonyati

Lighting: Guy Nelson

Caught is a physical interplay between two women who are caught in a half room with a light bulb as their only source of light. As Moyikwa explains, ‘This project, is a journey that is an expression of absent stories about black female subjectivity. The origin of this work came with a conversation that I had with a friend who said, “I am sick of being cast in plays as a maid or a drunk whore, surely there are other images that black woman can be associated with. Caught is my attempt at creating new images for a black female community”.


Standing Taller Than Liberty

Choreography: Athina Vachla

Performers: Maipelo Gabang, Ntombizandile Nonyati and Likhaya Jack

Design: Illka Louw

Lighting: Guy Nelson

A homage to Vivaldi, this work is an exercise on movement form and shifts of language and meanings. It is an existential study of striving and becoming. Standing Taller Than Liberty uses hyper raised figures, a male pantsula dance and physical theatre to challenge receptions of selfhood.



First Physical Theatre Company is back in action with an all-female company for 2014. Thanks to Lotteries funding for 2014 and the Rhodes University running grant, the company has been able to expand its artistic repertory with a small, devoted group of company members – Maipelo Gabang, Nomcebisi Moyikwa and Ntombi Nonyati. Under the artistic directorship of Juanita Finestone-Praeg, this programme was devised as a way of featuring three original works created for the company in 2014. The works highlight the corporeal imagination in the making and performing of original South African choreographies. These performance experiments continue First Physical’s legacy in questioning ways in which choreographic meanings can be embodied and framed.

Athina Vachla – Choreographer

Athina graduated from the State School of Dance in Greece. After winning the national Greek choreographic competition, she furthered her studies at the Laban Centre, UK. She worked in London for twenty years as a choreographer and teacher and used her practice as a vehicle to discover the world. Athina holds an honorary research post at Rhodes University in Grahamstown as Associate Lecturer for the Rhodes Drama Department. She has an MA in Arts from Middlesex University. She has enjoyed three commissions for First Physical.

Nomcebisi Moyikwa – Choreographer

Nomcebisi graduated from Rhodes University with BA (Hons) in drama, specialising in Applied Theatre, Physical Theatre and Choreography. From 2005 she has performed annually at the National Arts Festival performing with the ‘senior’ First Physical Theatre Company, most notably in Gary Gordon’s Go and The Unspeakable Story. In 2013, Nomcebisi joined The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative as an intern. Nomcebisi is currently working for First Physical Theatre Company as a performer and facilitator.

FIRST PHYSICAL acknowledges the support of:

The National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund and Rhodes University