Luvo Tamba’s Experience at Magnet Theatre

An Interview with an Alumnus of Magnet Theatre

LT: My name is Luvo and my surname is Tamba. I’m also coming from a township, a place called Philippi, Browns Farm […] I’m one of the first students [who] graduated [from the] Magnet Theatre training programme.

Myrto Papoulia (MP) [Dialogue]: Which year was that?

LT: We started in 2008 […] and graduated 2010.

LT: I started to [have] people know me and recognise me in the industry when we started a show called Ingcwaba Lendoda Lise Cankwe Ndlela. This production, that’s where people started to recognise my craft, in the industry […] that was a privilege for me to be recognised […] We were ten students. And then two of [them] left us in the training programme. They went to study at UCT [University of Cape Town] so we were left with eight students finishing the training programme. So, from there, the first production that I started to do in the industry was an isiXhosa Setwork production called Amaza, done by Artscape in town. So that was the first huge production that I did.


Photo Credit: Magnet Theatre

LT: So, my journey with Magnet Theatre was very amazing. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown because of this programme, this amazing programme […] I’ve started working with Isango [Ensemble]. They deal with Musical Theatre, so they do a lot of international productions. I was one of the members in the company […] done a lot of musical productions; The Magic Flute, Aesop’s Fables, The Ragged Trouser, Venus and Adonis for [the] Shakespeare Festival, Globe to Globe, in London [… I did] four years with Isango. And then I started to be independent again and hustle for myself. I just did a show now for Artscape called Tiger Bay: The Musical and I was playing a lead. It was an amazing production. It was challenging for me. It was amazing, [a] different style of show [that was] very foreign to me but […] I challenge myself with so many things. I just challenge myself. Give me something I don’t know existed [and] I want to try [it], I want to explore. That[‘s the] kind of artist that I am [… For example,] Magnet booked me again for a Children’s Theatre. We did a production called Ekhaya so I was one of the artists that brought the material for that production. Magnet didn’t teach me anything about Children’s Theatre but I don’t say no. I said, “Okay, fine, this is foreign to me. I’m able to learn and just do it. We’ll see what’s going to come.” So, the production was successful and I was very proud to be part of that production and make it successful.

LT: The Magnet Theatre training programme […] there are a lot of things that you learn from this programme, it’s amazing. I know Magnet Theatre specialises in Physical Theatre but [….] most of the productions that I’ve done in the industry, they’ve got nothing to do with Physical Theatre but [even so] there are […] elements that I’ve learned from Magnet Theatre that I utilised with those productions and they helped me a lot. I’m privileged with that.

“there are a lot of things that you learn from this programme, it’s amazing”

LT: In this industry […] you have to go on and push and push and push and market yourself as much as you can. So, [going to the] Grahamstown festival for the first time taught me that […] you have to market yourself as much as you can because [there are] so many people that are very hungry for this [profession]. There are a lot of us but the bread is very small. Sometimes […] the talent works but sometimes the talent doesn’t work. So that’s why the marketing, being visible to the people [is so important…] I love this place and I’m very glad there are still young, talented artists that are still getting the chance to study in Magnet Theatre. I’m very grateful, I’m very happy for that.

“I’m very glad there are still young, talented artists that are still getting the chance to study in Magnet Theatre”

LT: I just want to advise the artists that you’ve got to be humble, you’ve got to stay humble and work hard, do your thing, and be punctual. That’s the only thing that I can say. That’s how it is. Got to be humble, be punctual, and just be able to explore, don’t close your mind […] Just be able to explore and tell yourself that, “I’m going to do this.” That’s the only thing that I can say. Nothing else.

“you’ve got to stay humble and work hard”

Please click here to access Dialogue’s other posts in this series of interviews with alumni and staff of Magnet Theatre.

The Full-Time Training and Job Creation Programme receives support from TK FoundationRand Merchant BankOppenheimer Memorial TrustHosken Consolidated Investments Ltd FoundationRolf-Stefan Nussbaum FoundationAmpersand FoundationPotjie FoundationBusiness Arts South AfricaWestern Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports Expanded Public Works ProgrammeJoan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust, and Distell.

Transcribed by Norah Ringma

© Dialogue Community Performance / Magnet Theatre