Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler were awarded honorary doctorates in literature. UCT honoured Kohler and Jones for their outstanding contribution to contemporary theatre through the medium of puppetry. Both graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at UCT in 1974. In 1981 they established the Handspring Puppet Company (initially with two other Michaelis graduates). It has since become one of the best known and respected puppet companies in the world.
The special genius of their work has been to bring their training at Michaelis and their imagination as artists and sculptors to bear on their interest in theatrical and performative traditions. Their collaboration with artists such as William Kentridge and, more recently, with the Royal National Theatre's Warhorse project, has brought their work to international attention. The accolades they have received reflect the astonishment with which audiences have encountered the powerful assimilation of animated puppet characters, sculpture, puppet mastery, and performance.
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