BORN TO PERFORM presents SHINE! 2019
Born To Perform founders Gemma and Matthew Marinus recently took some time out from their hectic schedules to chat to me about this year’s exciting, upcoming production, SHINE! MC for the show, popular rising star, Zinah, also joined us.
Born to Perform was born out of the Stageworx school for performing arts. Stageworx is a space where Gemma encourages authenticity at all times. All who attend are taught the importance of respecting themselves, each other and the world around them. She acknowledges though, that today’s kids struggle to communicate directly because of social media. Stageworx uses the arts to guide them in understanding who they are, what they are and where they position themselves in the world as human beings.
Matthew adds that with the kids who study song-writing (these are the ones he predominantly works with), he’s found that there’s a need for them to understand who they are without the ‘outside noise’ of everyone’s opinions.
One of the fundamental principles of Stageworx is to celebrate all people and their successes. There are many doors and many opportunities, and it’s essential for these kids to understand this process and applaud others when a particular opportunity wasn’t theirs.
Gemma firmly believes that it’s their job as teachers and mentors to continually ask how they can handle situations better with young people if you feel you may have handled a difficult situation poorly. Even in conflict, she always tries to give them a learning situation, asking them to “Express how you were feeling …” She feels that if you allow the kids to analyse themselves, they learn how to approach various life situations and by doing so, she’s creating better humans.
I asked Gemma if she’d ever open up another branch of Stageworx? She replies that it’s not on the cards. “Stageworx is a personal experience, which is why there’s only one school.” For her, it’s not about the numbers. It’s about the quality of the experience and the time she gives to the kids. She wouldn’t be able to give her all, like she’s doing now if she had to split herself between more than one school.
She tells me that when she was a teenager, she grabbed every single opportunity to perform. “It takes years of practice to be an overnight success! You need to be ready!” All that experience accumulated, and when the time was right, it all came together. “You need to eat, sleep, breathe the industry and want it enough to do the work!” This is the message that she imparts to every single young person who dreams of a future in any of the performing arts fields.
That passion really goes into Stageworx a full 100% and I couldn’t imagine it being diluted in any way by Gemma opening up somewhere else and trying to replicate it, or relying on someone else to do it for her!
Zinah tells us that she was bullied at school. She always thought that she was a bad person because of this. But she’s come to learn that your own experience can be a learning experience for someone else. She (quite rightly) feels that we’re always so fixated on trying to change people, as opposed to just understanding them. Kids and teens tend to live in their own self-absorbed bubble and aren’t aware that others are going through the same stuff.
Coming out of Women’s Month and a heightened awareness of the horrific increase in crimes against women and children, I had to ask Zinah about her latest music video for her newly released single, ‘Ever Been’. The song is stunning and the video itself is visually slick and stylish, but I was interested to know why Zinah had willingly portrayed herself in such an openly provocative manner. Although she’s clearly absolutely gorgeous, it concerned me that it would send young girls (and men) the wrong message.
Her response is one that all of those who see the video need to hear: Zinah told us that since appearing in last year’s show, she’s had a big shift in how she conducts herself with people. As a product of Stageworx, she had the privilege of seeing that it was run by a strong woman who taught her how to work as a woman in this industry. After years of feeling inhibited and unworthy, she’s now finally comfortable in her own skin and is proud of who she is. She strongly believes that women shouldn’t be objectified, and is ready to own who she is!
Zinah also spoke about being able to work with people she was completely comfortable with and spoke so highly of Matthew and the way in which he guided her every step of the way, ensuring that she was happy with the creative process.
And then she drops a bombshell! She tells us that one of the other reasons she was ready to do a music video like this, ready to own how she looks and put herself out there, showing how truly beautiful she is, was because she was sexually abused when she was seven years old! I think that to say we were all stunned would be an understatement! We were even more shocked to learn that she only told her parents about this three weeks before our meet-up!
Zinah went on to say that it was a huge transition to move from expecting to be disrespected to knowing that you deserve respect because you’re now comfortable in your own skin; knowing that you’ve forgiven that person and have been able to move on. She tells us that it’s healing for herself. She knows she deserves love and deserves NOT to be objectified.
If she can be someone who speaks for positivity and strength on women’s ability to say NO, then she wants to be that person. She quotes Gemma, who often says, “Kindness is key.”
Gemma reminds us that people can be extremely unforgiving when they don’t even know the full story – all they see is a picture of a video.
She says that we’re lucky to live in the world we’re in as women, compared to where we’ve come from with many more women being in high-end corporate positions than there were 10 or 20 years ago. She tells me that her Born To Perform vision -from when they staged their first shown in 2015 – was always to perform on the Teatro stage! And that’s exactly where they’ll be next weekend for just 4 shows from 13 – 15 September. And they’ve had nothing buy support from the ‘powers that be’ at Montecasino.
She goes on to speak in glowing terms about her ‘mentor and voice of reason’, Bryan Schimmel, her producer and creative partner. Although he was overseas with the international tour of ‘Chicago’ for much of the run-up to SHINE! they’ve spoken every single day and he has still been as involved as he would have been, had he been right here! He’s also been Zinah’s mentor since last year.
What can people expect from this year’s production of SHINE!!? A showcase of amazing young talent! 450 spectacular young performers on stage, together with celebrity appearances by The Voice SA Season 2 winner, Craig Lucas and The Voice SA finalist Thembeka Mnguni and a special appearance from The Voice SA Season 3 Finalist, Yahto Kraft.
There will also be moving performances from Buddy Sacks and St Vincents School of the Deaf, and performers from Fourways High School, Mondeor High School, Curro Aurora – Sundowner and New Generation Pantsula Dancers from Alexandra.
SHINE! 2019 is on stage for FOUR SHOWS ONLY at The Teatro at Montecasino:
Friday 13 September at 20h00
Saturday 14 September at 15h00 & 20h00
Sunday 15 September at 15h00.
Tickets range from R180 – R320 and can be booked online at www.montecasino.co.za or through Computicket.
Various Public Group Bookings and Tsogo Sun Rewards Discounts are available through Computicket.
Group School Bookings are available on request by emailing email@example.com .
Upon confirmation, Group School Bookings of 20 seats and more will receive the added benefit of a SHINE! Workshop delivered by Born To Perform, at their school.
** A special performance made accessible for the deaf community will be taking place on Saturday 14th September at the 15h00 performance, with an on-stage signer.
At this performance, audiences have access to the Opticon system for the hearing impaired. This facility is only available in specific seats within The Teatro, so bookings would need to be made directly with the Teatro Box Office on 011 510 7472. **
Watch the advert for SHINE! 2019: https://youtu.be/RhiF_Jb0WQQ
Follow Born to Perform on Social Media (where you can also catch lots of rehearsal clips!):
Instagram : borntoperform.world
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/Borntoperformgala
YouTube: Born To Perform TV