Meet the first woman of colour to take the helm at Cape Town’s biggest theatre since its inception in 1971.
Marlene is a tireless advocate for the rights of the disabled and the youth. Stricken with polio when she was just 3 months old, Marlene was found freedom on the stage, captivating audiences with her pitch perfect voice.
Hands-on, result-focused and a visionary leader with an extensive track record in Culture, the Performing Arts and Education, Marlene is focused and inspired to take Artscape to new heights in the coming year.
Joining Artscape fourteen years ago as Director of Audience Development and Education, and CEO for the past year, Marlene has made a significant difference to the lives of thousands of people through Arts and Culture who have visited the Artscape Theatre Centre.
At the same time she has empowered and supported disadvantaged groups in finding fulfilling careers. Her outreach projects are legendary, taking complete productions to the rural areas and communities where education and workshops are included. After matriculating at Bergrivier Secondary School, Marlene graduated with degrees and diplomas at University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape and University of Stellenbosch. Her dissertations included – Policy and Development, Education, Music, Management and Leadership.
“I realized that I need to educate, and I must drive myself, and I’m not going to sit in a corner and say ‘ag shame this has happened to me’. I am going to make it.” — Marlene le Roux, CEO – Artscape Theatre
“You can’t talk about the empowerment of artists and decolonizing spaces like Artscape, but you don’t talk about having arts education which is subject-based matter in our schools, because then you don’t address the systemic challenges” — Marlene le Roux, CEO – Artscape Theatre.
What is your personal motto?
Life owes me nothing!
What advice would you give a woman wanting to follow her dreams?
Support another sister. Never use the words I Told You So. To help me not to be so hard on myself.
What are your top 3 business tips?
1. Be consistent. Employees and clients will trust you.
2. Honesty – don’t take short cuts or have a hidden agenda: it will catch up with you.
3. Do your research and always seek a second opinion before you make a life change decision, give it some time.
What would you say is the secret to your success?
I never take myself too seriously. Try to have a balanced life. I like dancing, swimming, and I laugh a lot at myself.
Which book are you currently reading?
Lean in: Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. As women we always doubt our abilities. We always need to prove ourselves. The author explained our insecurities profoundly. And shares her challenges and successes being a leading woman in the board room. I relate to this read, as it speaks to my reality, a mother, community activist, executive, and how need to juggle all these responsibilities.
Which book can you read over and over again?
The Mind of a FOX byChantell IIbury and Clem Sunter. I draw inspiration from what you can control and what you can’t. LET GO. And what is effective decision making
‘n Stringetjie blou krale by E.K.DID0. Every time I read this book, I am reminded that we are a diverse nation but our cultures are entwined.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Understanding my African continent. The journey of culture through the eyes of a woman.
Spanner in the Works by Pat Fahrenfort. The importance of working class women activists to overthrow the in just inhumane policies of Apartheid. The struggle is always told thru the eyes of males. Pat Fahrenfort give you the other side.
One general piece of advice you would like to share:
At all times, pay the people that work for you fairly. At all times be fair and consistent. Be a trooper to stand up for unfair treatment in the workplace.