MARK O’Donovan is a qualified electrical engineer and the founding director of the Odd Enjinears, an outfit that makes "music machines" - sculptures with an emphasis on motion that generates repeated sounds.
In 1996, Donovan met Geert Jonkers, a Dutch percussionist with a strong interest in inventing musical gadgets and the two have collaborated on many projects. The core group puts together other teams of co-workers depending on the requirements of its various projects. This ensures constant evolution and opportunities for workshops and training.
For the Mannenberg memorial, O’Donovan collaborated with performance artist Francois Venter. After graduating from Wits School of Dramatic art with a BA (Dramatic Art) in 1994, Venter worked as South African co-ordinator on the 1994 Dogtroep workshop for the Arts Alive festival.
He was a founder member of Klap Public Performance Company in 1995, and was involved in various performance projects in Newtown, the Market Theatre and in downtown Joburg. He also worked as company/stage manager for Junction Avenue Theatre Company, and attended a two-week theatre workshop in Berlin.
In 1996 he worked with street theatre outfit Jungle Performance. In 1997, he was involved in founding the Performance Initiative, and worked on a four-week master class with nine South African artists and Dogtroep in Oudtshoorn. The result of the master class was the creation of the show, Sweet Pham-Pham, which the South African team took on a national tour as the A1 theatre company.
In recent years, Venter has taught at Wits School of Dramatic Art and the Market Theatre Laboratory, and obtained his Master’s degree in Performance Studies at Wits.
"South Africa is changing. Change is painful and disorientating at times," says Venter. "The arts play an important role in the process of understanding ourselves."