Scientist takes to the stage

Sonja BartlettDaubermann at the Gauteng semi-finals of SACOPA in her consume for a piece titled `The Boy Who Lived’.

Sonja Bartlett-Daubermann, who holds a master’s degree in Biochemistry, has a deeply-routed love for the performing arts and has bagged her spot in the nationals of the South African Championship of Performing Arts (SACOPA).

Bartlett-Daubermann used to work as an analyst in a diagnostic lab at the Centre for Human Metabolomics at the North West University in Potchefstroom, which specialises in screening for rare metabolic diseases, but she recently relocated to Bloemfontein to work at the National Museum.

My love for the performing arts has been woven into me since I can remember and I have participated in many branches of the arts while in school. However, I felt like I needed to pursue my academic strengths first. I feel I am one of those people with two distinct paths in life. I’m equally passionate about both: being a scientist and an actress!” said Bartlett-Daubermann.

She said she was a drama student at the School for Dramatic Art in 2017, but as she had to juggle her career responsibilities and completing her master’s in science, she decided to put it on the back-burner and never completed any formal training. She told Bloemfontein Courant her time as a drama student did afford her the opportunity to meet like-minded artists and friends and also perform on a local stage once or twice. “I did not fully ‘go for it’ until this year. I don’t really know how to describe it, perhaps among the remarkable people here and the relics in the museum, I too was inspired to dig up a long-lost treasure buried within me!” she added.

Qualifying for nationals is a huge honour for Bartlett-Daubermann. “I feel I have finally found an outlet. There is a certain nervous excitement welling up in me at the thought of being a part of something bigger than myself. In a way, it validates your talent and your journey to qualify for such an event,” she said.

She hopes her journey will show other artists like herself that it is never too late to pursue something worthwhile. “Also, be authentically yourself and do not compromise on the individual you want to be in the industry and in life,” she said.

The SACOPA national competition will take place from 1 to 10 October and from there a South African team will be selected. The team will then represent the country at the World Championship in Las Vegas, in the United States of America.

Justine Fortuin