Meet two women with a passion for the arts

The Masque Theatre’s programme manager, Faeron Wheeler, and head of operations, Christine Kaye.

Two Fish Hoek women are part of the team helping to make Muizenberg’s Masque Theatre a key attraction for a variety of community and professional productions.

The theatre’s programme manager, Faeron Wheeler, is a professional producer, director, actress, and writer while its head of operations, Christine Kaye, has a background in photography, design, entrepreneurship, and strategic planning.

Ms Wheeler has been involved in theatre and stage since she was 3.

“My mom got me involved with modern-dancing classes, and I did my first-ever performance at that age. I have a photo of it, and I’m not sure if it’s that performance or another one around that time, but that tiny version of me stays in my head just before I go on stage even today,” she says.

She continued to dance throughout her school career, was involved in plays, and studied drama in high school.

She was about 12 when she told her parents she wanted to be an actor.

“As I got older, I realised that I also loved other aspects, like writing and directing. Producing is something that came about out of necessity. I had ideas that I wanted to bring to life, and no one else was going to do it for me.”

Ms Wheeler has a BA with a double major in screenwriting and English and an Honours degree in film production from UCT. She started her own production company, F Creations, in 2017.

In 2008, she did her first production, Accommodations, at The Masque.

“I was fresh out of university at the time, and it was the crew who inspired me the most. They were all long-time volunteers at the Masque, and the love they had for the space was infectious.”

Since then she has volunteered on stage, backstage, and in front of the house until she was appointed as head of programming in January.

Ms Wheeler turned to directing, filming, and editing during the pandemic and created (extra)ordinary, (un)usual, which debuted online in October 2020 and was part of the National Arts Festival’s vFringe on-demand streaming platform in 2021. It received a Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award.

F Creations also received a second Standard Bank Ovation Award for its digital offering of Your Perfect Life during the 2021 festival.

Ms Wheeler has also written, directed, and produced two fairytale pantomimes, Cinderella, in 2021, and Sleeping Beauty, in 2022, for the Masque and produced two music shows, The Valentine Soiree and Basically Broadway, and Twelfth Night for the theatre this year.

The best part of her job is that she “gets to make theatre”, she says, advising others with the same goal to “just do it.”

“No one is going to give you permission to make something, and you don’t need anyone’s permission.”

Ms Kaye also joined the team in January after moving from Johannesburg last year, and she oversees the day-to-day operations. Before that she ran her own photography business from the age of 23.

“Having worked on my own for so long, learning to be supported by my colleagues is not something that has come naturally to me,” she says. “Thankfully, the team has welcomed me with open arms and has made the process less daunting.”

Growing up in Edenvale, she enjoyed set painting in high school but did not study art.

“I wasn’t allowed to take art as a subject and went full force into the world looking to establish a corporate career. When I fell pregnant at 23, I wanted a job with flexibility to allow me to spend time with my child. I researched options available to me and photography seemed to be a career that suited what I was looking for at the time. And so, I bought my first camera and dedicated myself to learning the craft; I am completely self-taught.”

Ms Kaye says if you are serious about a career in the arts, you have to understand how to run a business.

“Business acumen is a learned skill and goes hand in hand with running a successful photography business. When you’re starting up, there are less rules than you think. Just go for it.”