Taryn Bennet on Silkworm

presented by Contagious Theatre


Hilton Arts Festival is always a highlight of the year in KwaZulu-Natal. All the buzz of the new shows to watch, art exhibits and craft markets. Not to mention the food to delight the tastebuds. 2018 proves to be no different with a new acclaimed show to add to your viewing pleasure. Contagious Theatre brings clowning to Hilton Arts Festival for the first time. Silkworm débuted at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown where it has won an Ovation Award. 


The story is told us to us through the eyes of the at once gregarious and socially awkward Georgina, played by acclaimed actor Taryn Bennett. I interview Taryn to get a little insight to what motivates her acting and what clowning is.

Contagious theatre - Silkworm

1. How did you get into theatre?

I enjoyed acting as a child and so I studied Drama at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. My lecturers there were brilliant and equipped me with the tools to create my own work, and not wait for a director to cast me in a show. This has really allowed me to explore styles of performance that are interesting to me. I have also been fortunate to work with artists that share a like-minded performance ethos.

2. How long have you been in theatre?

I finished at Rhodes in 2002 and having been making work since then. I have mostly been involved in devised stage work, but I’ve also done television.

3. You are bringing the acclaimed ‘Silkworm’ to Hilton Arts Festival. What is it about?

Silkworm is the story of ‘Georgina’ a socially awkward woman who is yearning to make a connection. She takes the audience along on a journey on the most important day of her life.

4. What have you learnt from the character you play (Georgina)?

Silkworm is a clown show. I have done shows which have touched on clown, and shows with clown-like characters, but I have never had the opportunity to find my own inner clown, a character which is uniquely me.

5. What character does your clowning take on?

Jenine, my director, who studied (among other things) clown in Italy, used provocation brilliantly to allow Georgina to be revealed. Playing a clown is at once vulnerable and liberating.

Silkworm Contagious theatre

6. Are there any characteristics that Georgina has that you share as a person?

Although Georgina appears over-the-top and socially alien, this character is the one character I’ve played who is most similar to me. She is a shy extrovert. Brave and scared. Stupid and intuitive.

7. What can the audience expect to learn from ‘Silkworm’ ?

Silkworm is funny, yet it explores a serious theme. This show allows audiences to access an innocent, child-like part of themselves, and if the audience go on the journey with Georgina, and allow themselves to be silly again, they will be moved.

8. Where can people follow you and the production on Social Media?

I am a member of Contagious Theatre, a company including myself, James Cairns and Jenine Collocott, with Simon and Helen Cooper as Producers. You can visit our website at or email us at or follow us on Facebook and Instagram  or on Twitter.

9. Where can people purchase tickets for the production?

Tickets for all the shows at The Hilton Arts festival can be purchased on their website.

So if this sounds like your cup of tea or slice of cake, then click on through and sort yourself some tickets out (before they are all gone!). After all, Local is Lekker. Get in touch with your sense of humour while learning a thing or two. All while being entertained. It sounds like a great deal to me. 

Until then….see you at the Show 😉

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