The People of Drum Cafe – Richard Carter

 

Richard works at the Drum Cafe as a Creative Director and Production Manager, he is a founding member of Drumstruck and has toured the show from its beginning in 2002.

Richard began his carrier in performing arts as an actor and dancer graduating from The University of Cape Town with a BA Performing Arts in 1979 majoring in Theatre and History of Art. While still a student he worked at The Space, South Africa’s first multi racial theater under the direction of Brian Astbury.

He left South Africa in 1980 and studied Tomaschevsky mime technique in Paris, France with Ella Jaroszewics and performed in “Amadeus” based on the life of Mozart directed by Roman Polanski at the Marigny Theatre on the Champs Ellysees.

In 1983 moved to Amsterdam, Holland where he danced on the European circuit with Shusaku and Dormu Dance touring in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, The USSR, Hungary, Poland and Canada. He joined the Lindsay Kemp Company and toured extensively in Spain, Italy, France and Israel over two years.

In Holland he created a theater company called Bangh Bangh Tot and began performing as a percussionist combining dance, theater and music. The company performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1990 in a piece he wrote and directed based on the poetry of Mongane Wally Serote. He also performed in Anthony Ackerman’s war play “Somewhere on the Border.”

Returning to South Africa in 1994 Richard moved full time into music and was accompanist for many local dance companies like Adele Blank’s Free Flight, Debbie Rakusin’s Vusa Dance, Sonya Mayo, Moving Into Dance, PACT Ballet and Soweto Dance. He also taught at the Market Theater Laboratory and performed  at The Market in theater pieces under the direction of Barney Simon.

In South Africa he was instrumental in promoting the jembe through teaching and performing being one of the first to promote West African drumming here. He initiated and created many notable events such as a group of 100 drummers he formed with Zim Nqawana and George Lee for President Mandela’s Inauguration at the Union Buildings. He formed and drum band called Ubukho Bethu that was a hit on the local club and festival circuit.

Richard studied and toured with master drummer Adama Drame and Foliba in the Ivory Coast and Burkino Faso for Adama’s tour to celebrate his 30 years as a musician. A few years later he brought Adama and Foliba to Johannesburg for the Arts Alive Festival.

Richard also works as a percussionist playing congas, bongos and timbales and has performed with many pop, jazz and African artists like Sankamoto, Sipho “Hotsticks” Mabuzo, Dorothy Masuka, Koffe and the Cream of Africa and numerous Latin and Salsa lineups in Johannesburg.

He was a composer for the South African hit musical “African Footprint” and performed in the first cast of the show for a year at the Gold Reef City Casino.

He has been involved with “Drumstruck” from the beginning composing, performing and doing production management.  He performed and did company management for the show for a year and a half on Off-Broadway in New York City at The New World Stages in a partnership between Drum Café and Dodgers Theatricals. He has toured with the show annually to Japan from 2008 except in a 2010 when he directed a version of the show at The Mandela Square in Sandton during the FIFA World Cup.

At the Drum Cafe Richard also writes scripts for the Industrial Theater division and  has his own music studio where he produces and composes tracks.

 

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