Why does this man only feel safe on stage?

 

“I forget about my own problems…I cherish this moment.” The stage is a refuge for Apollo Ntshoko. Under lights, exposed to the scrutiny of the crowd, he is able to find an empty mind, immersed in the motion of performing a routine perfected by repetitive practice. 

Ntshoko started his professional career in 1985 as a dancer for Jazz Art. With the Union Dance Company, he assisted in developing the African dance programme at the University of Cape Town at a time when the university only taught ballet. After sustaining a series of injuries to his back, Ntshoko transitioned into stage acting, and caught the eye of the late Barney Simon, one of South Africa’s most influential theatre practitioners. Since then, he has worked with top South African directors in productions like Macbeth, Mountain People and most recently Woyzeck.

Ntshoko has seen what theatre can do. It has brought multi-racial and different cultural groups together and allowed them to tell their stories on their own terms. For him, performing is a spiritual experience.