Artscape Theatre Centre celebrates the life of Jimmie Earl Perry, a seasoned singer and performer in theatre productions who was notable for his work in using the creative arts to educate audiences. The first UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for South Africa Professor Perry recently died of cancer.
Many singers and songwriters strive to share their talent to the world. Jimmie Earl Perry went much further; he advanced social transformation and improved the lives of people around the world through education, activism and community spirit. As a young teacher in New Jersey, United States of America, Mr Perry dreamed of furthering his education and travelling to share his talent and passion for music. Dazzling acting and singing talent and a tireless work ethic turned that dream into reality, driving a diverse and celebrated career in public performance, academia and community leadership.
After moving to South Africa in 2004, Mr Perry had a number of leading roles in local television series, including the hit comedy show Laugh Out Loud with Deon Maas. He recorded numerous radio and television voiceovers and commercials in South Africa and the United States. As a singer, Mr Perry flourished in South Africa. He recorded his first self-produced album, Power of the Dream, which was released globally in 2007. His last album, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, featured collaborations with South African legends Ladysmith Black Mambazo and a host of other friends from around the world.
Mr Perry started working at the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management in 2004 as Director of Educational Theatre and Creative Arts. Since its establishment, the Africa Centre has developed the largest and most comprehensive HIV management training programme in the world, and it offers a unique post-graduate diploma in the management of HIV. The degree combines technical training in HIV education, prevention and research, with a commitment to strengthen and enhance awareness of human rights. Under Mr Perry’s leadership, the Africa Centre’s theatre company gave hundreds of performances of educational theatre productions to almost 1 million people around South Africa.