Press release: New partnership sees the South African State Theatre’s Kucheza Afrika Festival in Cape Town

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Press release: New partnership sees the South African State Theatre’s Kucheza Afrika Festival in three cities, including The Baxter in April, for limited performances from 6 to 7 April 2021

The South African State Theatre welcomes the Baxter Theatre and Durban’s The Playhouse Company as partners in hosting the 2021 edition of the dance festival, Kucheza Afrika Festival, until 11 April 2021.

The Baxter Theatre will host two productions on 6 and 7 April 2021 ‒ Trapped by Unmute Dance Company at 6pm and Louise Coetzer’s (Darkroom Contemporary) Memoryhouse at 7.30pm.

Christopher Thomas Sherwood-Adcock in Memoryhouse (Photo: Oscar O Ryan)

The annual Kucheza Afrika Festival (formerly Dance Umbrella Africa) had to be reimagined, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current national lockdown regulations with all protocols in place and to be observed.

Performances will be limited to 100 audience members (or less, depending on the venue), COVID-19 protocols to be observed include the availability of hand sanitisers, tracking and tracing, temperature checks, mandatory wearing of masks and practicing of physical distancing. Audience members are advised to arrive at least 45 minutes before the start of the performance to avoid delays.

A brand-new work called Trapped by Unmute Dance Company on 6 and 7 April at 6pm, is a double bill. It challenges the ‘trapped mentality’ that society uses to stereotype persons living with disability. Produced by the Cape Town-based company and featuring dancers Nadine Mckenzie and Siphenathi Mayekiso, who both live with disabilities.

Nadine Mckenzie in Trapped (Photo: Danie Coetsee)

Nadine Mckenzie in Trapped (Photo: Oscar O Ryan)

Louise Coetzer’s (Darkroom Contemporary) Memoryhouse, featuring an original sound score composed by Matthijs van Dijk, is on 6 and 7 April at 7.30pm. The piece immerses the viewer in a dreamscape, where the tension between reality and remembering to collide in an infinite loop.

Siphenathi Mayekiso in Trapped

This partnership, presented by the South African State Theatre (SAST), in collaboration with The Baxter and The Playhouse Company, was born out of a need to reignite the fires of live theatre.

The collaboration will enable a shared live experience of the festival with limited audiences in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, making the 2021 Kucheza Africa Festival a hybrid festival, with live performances and online presentation by international acts.

The Baxter and The Playhouse Company assist by providing access to performance venues, technical and administrative support towards the realisation of the live dance productions, to the companies which are based in the respective provinces.

The SAST, in collaboration with The Playhouse Company will stage the dance piece, Sullied, by Kristi-Leigh Gresse. Using dance and spoken word, it dives deep into the world of rape culture, sexuality, gender identity, race polarisation and religion. Programmed under the Young Artists programme of the festival, Sullied will be presented live at the Playhouse Company on 8 and 9 April.

For The Baxter season of the Kucheza Afrika Festival, from 6 to 7 April 2021, tickets range from R80 (pensioners and students) to R120 per show. Booking is through Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online at or at Pick n Pay stores.  

Issued by the Baxter Theatre on behalf of the South African State Theatre.

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