Long hours of rehearsal and time away from home? A good leader? A passion about children and making a better South Africa? A delightful sense of humour?
Actually, Gaillene Isaks doesn’t have to do anything. She just has to stand on stage, shrug or raise her eyebrows and she has the audience in stitches! So, when she delivers her lines, she has the room literally rolling around with laughter. This is one of the reasons why this happy soul adds so much value to the team as they arrest the children’s rapt attention … ensuring that the important messages come through loud and clear.
Gaya, as she is fondly known, is a great conversationalist – in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. Her fourth language is singing, almost constantly. She is described as ‘the crazy one’ and you never know when she will surprise you next. Her incredible sense of humour is one of the traits which attracted founder, Stuart Palmer’s, attention when he asked her to join the team as an actress and office administrator after she was persuaded by a friend to audition for Lunchbox Theatre in 2012. Her debut appearance was in The Tree Show. However, more recently, her versatility allows her to add value to the Thand’ Impilo Show which covers the serious subject of AIDS and HIV.
Gaillene is Stuart’s right-hand wo-man as they apply themselves to running the show and the serious business of making sure they get enough support to continue the good work and feed back to sponsors on the responsible use of funding. And good work is what this talented lady does wherever she goes. As a wife and mother of two, her nurturing nature comes through constantly and her fellow actors agree that this ‘clown’ is very caring and passionate about her life’s work.
Gaillene fondly remembers her first Lunchbox Theatre road trip when they went to a festival in Nieu Bethesda. Despite the inconvenience of no cell phone reception and water frozen in the tap, she was warmed by the family atmosphere of theatre life and actors. She wishes that Lunchbox Theatre could go to more places and put more smiles on more little faces and is proud of how Lunchbox Theatre do so much with the limited funding they have. She is even more proud of her boss, Stu and says he is the kind of leader everyone wants! “I don’t think I can adequately describe this great leader, but I do want to say … Thank you for taking a chance on me, Stu!”
“Lunchbox Theatre brings so much joy to kids and it teaches everyone who sees our shows. If I had a Lunchbox Theatre in my life when I was growing up, I think I would have been an even better person.” Says Gayla. I feel so proud when kids just see the logo on our vehicle and get super excited. When they meet up with us actors in the community, they love to say one of our lines or sing our songs. Lunchbox Theatre is a blessing to our kids, including my own, as they learn and understand things so much better when we act the messages out on stage and they stay with the kids long after we have left.”
If you are heartened by Gaillene Isak’s story please consider supporting the actors and children by engaging a show or clicking on the DONATE button on www.lunchbox.org.za. A small monthly donation will result in a lot of smiles.