Vampire Squid

Joël Leonard

  • Ticket Price: R20.00
  • Duration: 22mins 30sec
  • Age Recommendation: 16+
  • Genre: Performance Art
  • Language: n/a

VAMPIRE SQUID is a surreal and explorative performance that incorporates mask, creature, sound and lights to raise awareness around the plight of our aquatic life at the hands of humans, unknowingly harming ourselves just as much as we harm the creatures of the sea, the dark underbelly of our world, our identities, masculinity and sexual orientations. Inspired by the vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis), one such creature that lives at the bottom of our oceans, this addition to the Virtual National Arts Festival Fringe acts as archival work for not only the short-lived Dance Umbrella Africa festival but also as one of the newer and fresh pieces exploring demisexuality in the South African artistic landscape. 95% of our oceans remain unexplored. To this day, scientists do not know where the deep sea begins, or ends.

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Choreographed and Performed by: Joël Leonard

Stage Managed/Dramaturgy by: Martin Daniel Grendele

Mentored by: Oupa Sibeko, Roberto Pombo & Joni Barnard

Lighting design by: Hlomohang ‘Spider’ Mothetho

Costume & Music designed by: Joël Leonard


Joël Leonard
My name is Joël Leonard. I am twenty three years old, a performance artist, actor and writer. I am a recent BADA graduate of the Wits School of Arts and currently a member of the Market Laboratory’s Kwasha! Theatre Company. I have been a practicing artist in and outside of the performance space for four years, constantly experimenting with forms and styles. As part of my Honours degree I tripled majored in Writing, Physical Theatre & Performance Studies, earning two distinctions for the latter subjects. I use my performance work to question and reflect on identity, legacy, race relations and the human condition, and what they mean in a South African context. I am fond of blending styles and forms, such as improvisation, dance, clowning, and any other styles I can get my hands on to effectively subvert expectations about theatre and performance. This will be my fifth year in a row entering the National Arts Fringe Festival.

Martin Daniel Grendele
Martin Daniel Gendele is an actor and theatremaker from Johannesburg. Their training began in the schools of Classical Greek Dance and Theatre, which in later years translated to the study of performance and physical theatre at the University of the Witswatersrand. As dramaturge to VAMPIRE SQUID, Grendele engages with the third person perspective of the piece, providing insight and further research into the core themes of this ever more relevant exploration of masculinity and the environment.