Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Interview: Nell-Louise Pollock speaks about being the featured artist for ONE IN THREE at Artscape

Cape Town Opera makes a statement against Gender Based Violence

Interview: Nell-Louise Pollock speaks about being the featured artist for ONE IN THREE at Artscape As the world gets ready to launch the international 16 Days of Activism campaign against Gender Based Violence, Cape Town Opera decided to add their voice to the call. Their new production ONE IN THREE is a selection of works that speak about the subject of GBV. As part of the production, they included local craftivist Nell-Louise Pollock as the featured artist for the production. Nell sat down to talk to us some more about ONE IN THREE and her roll in it.

BWW: Let's start off with - how did you come to be involved in ONE IN THREE?

Pollock: I was sent a screenshot by one of my followers on my Mending Threads Instagram page. They thought of me when Cape Town Opera sent out a call for artist to do a poster. I have never designed a poster, but l reached to them to enquire if they would like to display my 'Dear Mr. President' Craftivist project in the foyer before and after the show.

I was happily surprised when Magdalene Minnaar, director of ONE IN THREE, contacted me and asked if I would like to be the featured artist for ONE IN THREE.

BWW: What exactly does it mean to be a featured artist in such a production?

Pollock: As the featured artist for this opera, I will be the only artist whose work will be used in the opera itself, on the poster and in the program and in the foyer. It's a huge honour for me and I am very grateful for the amazing opportunity.

BWW: You call yourself a craftivist. What exactly does this mean?

Pollock: The word 'craftivism' is a combination of the words craft and activism.

Betsy Greer, an artist, writer, maker and speaker, is credited with popularising the term Craftivism. In her words: *'Craftivism is about more than 'craft' and 'activism'- it's about making your own creativity a force to be reckoned with. The moment you start thinking about your creative production as more than just a hobby or "women's work", and instead, as something that has cultural, historical, and social value, craft becomes something stronger than a fad or trend'

*(Greer 2006 as cited by Bratich & Brush 2011)

Craftivism is a form of protest or a means to advance social causes. It is often a social process of collective empowerment, of action and expression; that said, it can also be practiced individually where one person expresses and drives their own initiative in respect of the fight against social injustice; for me it is Gender Based Violence. Collectively we are known as Craftivists.

BWW: It's one of your artworks on the poster for ONE IN THREE. Can you tell us a bit more about the piece you've created here?

Interview: Nell-Louise Pollock speaks about being the featured artist for ONE IN THREE at Artscape Pollock: The art piece that I designed and embroidered for the poster is called 'Crucified'. South African womxn, children and the LGBTQIA+ are crucified and denounced by our countrymen. The fabric over our mouths is to keep our abuse and plight quiet and keep us living with the shame of abuse. It shows that we have no voice in our patriarchal society. It is also represents the deafening silence from government in respect to fight against GBV.

I used safety pins for several reasons. The safety pin is designed to keep fingers safe from injury, yet it's our injured bodies that carry broken our fingers and bones. Safety pins are used for First Aid to bandaged wounds; wounds often inflicted by the ones living in our homes. A variation of the safety pin is used for cloth nappies. I used it as a reminder of the babies and children murdered and abused.

The person's eyes are closed, indicating death. The closed eyes reflects on how we as a society would rather keep our eyes closed than face the reality of GBV and femicide in our country.

BWW: ONE IN THREE feels like a very important production to launch at the same time as the international 16 Days of Activism campaign. What do you hope can be achieved by this production? What do you want audiences to come away feeling or, better yet, doing?

Pollock: The audience that will attend the three performances at Artscape are already aware of the some of the GBV issues in our country. That is the very reason they are supporting this amazing production.

In my opinion, one aspect of changing the narrative around GBV and femicide is open dialogue. Dialogue which is vital in this fight. It raises awareness, helps the healing process for victims and broadens people's perception of abuse. The more we talk about it, the fewer places there are to hide from it.

My hope is that each audience member leaving the opera, will walk away with the urgency to start dialogues around it, with their family, their friends and at their workplace. Spread the word and keep the secrets away.

Photo credit: Supplied

Cape Town Opera will be offering complimentary tickets for both ONE IN THREE concerts taking place at Artscape on Friday 25 November at 18h30 and on Saturday 26 November at 15h00. Those wishing to support these performances in support of GBV awareness should email rsvp@capetownopera.co.za by no later than 23 November 2022 and they will be contacted by return email. Tickets will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis. Anyone who has already bought tickets will still be able to attend, and will be refunded in due course. ONE IN THREE is proudly supported by the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and the National Lotteries Commission.

There are another 2 free performances taking place at the White City Multipurpose venue in Saldanha on 4 December at 15h00 and on 11 December at 15h00 at the Stellenbosch Town Hall.



MASTER CLASS Comes to Theatre on the Bay Beginning This Month Photo
From 20 February to 11 March 2023, Pieter Toerien in association with Cape Town Opera (CTO) will present MASTER CLASS at Theatre on the Bay, a riveting play written by the late American playwright, librettist and five-time Tony Award winner Terrence McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Love!Valour!Compassion!, Ragtime, The Lisbon Traviata). 

Applications Now Open For The 2023 Womens Month Festival At The Drama Factory Photo
The Drama Factory and F Creations have announced the second running of their Women's Month Festival, taking place 7-20 August 2023.

Winners Announced For The 2022 BroadwayWorld South Africa Awards Photo
The winners have been announced for the 2022 BroadwayWorld South Africa Awards, honoring the best in regional productions, touring shows, and more which had their first performance between October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022.

Review: HANSARD is Beautifully Crafted Theatre That is a Pleasure to Watch Photo
The text is superb, the actors accomplished professionals at the top of their game, the direction tight and the package a reminder to us to live without regrets, to keep our loved ones close and that 'I'm sorry' should never be left unsaid.


From This Author - Faeron Wheeler

Faeron is a Cape Town based actor, writer and producer who has been involved in theatre since she was only three years old. She studied drama and dancing throughout school and then went on to d... (read more about this author)


Review: HANSARD is Beautifully Crafted Theatre That is a Pleasure to WatchReview: HANSARD is Beautifully Crafted Theatre That is a Pleasure to Watch
January 31, 2023

The text is superb, the actors accomplished professionals at the top of their game, the direction tight and the package a reminder to us to live without regrets, to keep our loved ones close and that 'I'm sorry' should never be left unsaid.

Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a festive must-see at Theatre On The BayReview: A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a festive must-see at Theatre On The Bay
December 5, 2022

This beautiful adaptation by the team from VR Theatrical is pretty much just what the doctor ordered for the festive season. It combines song, animation, puppetry, voice overs, beautiful acting and a healthy dose of humour to warm the heart.

Interview: Nell-Louise Pollock speaks about being the featured artist for ONE IN THREE at ArtscapeInterview: Nell-Louise Pollock speaks about being the featured artist for ONE IN THREE at Artscape
November 21, 2022

As the world gets ready to launch the international 16 Days of Activism campaign against Gender Based Violence, Cape Town Opera decided to add their voice to the call. Their new production ONE IN THREE is a selection of works that speak about the subject of GBV.

Review: HOLD STILL at the Baxter Flipside Theatre pushes you to ask if you really are a good personReview: HOLD STILL at the Baxter Flipside Theatre pushes you to ask if you really are a good person
November 16, 2022

HOLD STILL holds up a mirror and quite deftly questions whether or not you’re as good a person as you think you are. It’s a jarring question to be faced with and the four characters on stage are left reeling in the wake of getting their answers.

Review: DINNER WITH THE 42S at Masambe Theatre is gritty, funny and sharpReview: DINNER WITH THE 42S at Masambe Theatre is gritty, funny and sharp
November 12, 2022

DINNER WITH THE 42S is an absolute treat! It’s gritty, it’s funny, it’s sharp – it’s a production definitely worth watching.