Welcome the Blue Bird Baxter: A brand new weekly market

The Southern Suburbs are about to get a great big shake-up with the launch of the Blue Bird Baxter market in the gardens of the Baxter Theatre from Saturday 5 November.

Market-lovers, UCT staff and students, Baxter patrons and the local and surrounding communities are in for a treat when the market opens for the festive season.

Visitors can enjoy an array of wares, entertainment and tasty delicacies while browsing through the variety of stalls with wonderful hand-made and vintage goods on sale.

The food and goods market will be running every Saturday from 12PM to 6PM.

The market is being organised by Dylan Speer, who set up the very successful Blue Bird Garage market in Muizenberg. Dylan is bringing his vision to the Baxter.

The Baxter garden will be transformed into a bustling rendezvous where exhibitors will display and sell vintage-styled clothing and jewellery designs in a convivial and fun atmosphere. These local designers include The Pendant Warehouse, Akimbo, Aeroplane Jane, Yesterday and Tomorrow, Aphrodite, Natasha Woods, love joy jewellery and Like Clock Work.

The Little Hattery will launch a new range of amazing hats, and Noon-Gun T-shirts will kick-start their latest range of T-shirts.

We would love to see families, students, friends and locals enjoy the space which we believe is great for the area this time of the year.

Come join us in a whole new venture for the Baxter Theatre Centre.


‘Afrikaaps’ is a smash-hit in the Netherlands

One of the Baxter’s most successful co-productions from 2010 was the ‘Hiphopera’ called Afrikaaps, which tells the story of the Afrikaans language through a mix of storytelling, poetry, music, video and dance and recasts the language as a language of liberation.

The company is currently on an extensive month-long tour of the Netherlands, and Production Manager Lana Paries wrote to tell us about everything that is going on during this exciting tour:

“Afrikaaps has just completed a 2-day performance in Amersfoort with 80% audience attendance, standing ovations and multiple encores. We’ve also seen patrons dancing on stage, which apparently normally never happens over there.

We saw it first-hand as patrons came into the dressing room to express the impact the production has had on them.

Afrikaaps has been tweaked to accommodate the Dutch audience, everything is translated on the screen so audiences can follow, and new material has been created due to two well-known artists (DefP and Akwasi Ansah from NL) joining the production. They were just as surprised by the audience reaction we were, especially due to the nature of the production.

They were interviewed on a very popular Dutch television show in Rotterdam yesterday to captivate the younger audience for the show next week. Blaq Pearl (Janine van Rooy)and our local producer Catherine Hennigan did an interview on Sunday for a popular radio station aimed at getting the Surinamese audience in for the show, as they share a similar history as the one told in the production.

A few members of the cast were asked to participate in a spoken word event on Sunday at Paradiso in Leidseplein which went exceptionally well, and there have been other gigs that have emerged for them from people who have seen the production.”

Enjoy a Cape Malay cooking experience and the Desperate First Ladies

How would you like to learn the fine art of Cape Malay cooking before you take in a performance of Desperate First Ladies?

Then this is your chance….

Martha Williams, Head Chef of The Cape Malay Experience at The Cellars-Hohenort will be sharing her knowledge of this uniquely South African cuisine, the art of blending spices and sharing some of her cooking tips.

Join her for an interactive cooking demo and a typical 2 course Cape Malay meal at Act Restaurant at the Baxter Theatre:

Wednesday, 28 September.

R300 per person for cooking demo, dinner and show tickets.

Sit down no later than 18h00 for demonstration before dinner

Booking is essential.

Main Course

Tomato Bredie, Butter Chicken Curry, Lentil Dhal with Steamed Rice


Malva Pudding with Amarula Custard and Vanilla Ice Cream

For bookings on the cooking demo, dinner and tickets to Desperate First Ladies, contact Sharon Ward on sharon.ward@uct.ac.za or phone
(021)680 3962.

For bookings on the cooking demo and dinner only at R180 per person, contact Act Restaurant on (021) 685 3888 or baxterbookings@theforum.co.za.

Memorial Service for Roz van der Vyver

The Baxter Theatre Centre is grieved by the tragic loss of former colleague Roz Van Der Vyver. Roz gave ten of the best years of her life (from 1999 to 2009) unequivocally and generously to the Baxter. She often worked seven days a week and round the clock for the good of a theatre production.

She loved and was committed to the actors and artists and always went the extra mile for her friends and colleagues. Our sincere sympathies go to her mother Pearl and all who mourn her dreadful loss.

We are aware that there is currently an on-going investigation into her death, and we sincerely hope that this will bring clarity to the devastating series of events which has taken place.

A Memorial Service will be held this Friday, 23 September, at 16h00, in the Concert Hall at the Baxter Theatre Centre and you are very welcome to join us for the service.

6 September: Taste, Tweet & Theatre with Pieter-Dirk Uys

On Tuesday, the 6th of September, the Baxter is hosting its 4th Taste, Tweet and Theatre evening in the theatre foyer from 6:30pm. The event precedes a performance of Pieter-Dirk Uys’ new one-man show, Desperate First Ladies. Superb wines that will present their blends for tasting and sampling include a number of popular cellars from the Darling region.

Pieter-Dirk Uys is an absolute powerhouse of energy, bravery, opinion and humour, and his contribution to the arts and culture have been recognised around the world. The Baxter is delighted to welcome him back for the Cape Town premiere of Desperate First Ladies, his all-new one “man” show.

In Desperate First Ladies, Evita Bezuidenhout graciously shares the stage with a chorus line of other outspoken and iconic women from all walks of life, including Cape Malay DA firebrand Mrs. Pietersen; the first lady of Libya, Madame Gaddafi; Mother Teresa, who is manning the telephone exchange in heaven; the kugel Nowell Fine and Evita’s much-loathed sister and the black sheep of the family, Bambi Kellermann.

The Baxter’s Taste, Tweet and Theatre evenings are hugely popular interactive social media events. Patrons go online during the tastings via their mobile devices to chat, tweet and update their Facebook pages and blogs before and after the show. With this immediate medium, people share their experiences of the wines and the performance while a drop-down screen in the foyer updates audience members with the ongoing Twitter activity surrounding the event.

South Africa’s Most Famous White Woman Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout @TannieEvita who stars in Desperate First Ladies, has close to 10 000 followers on Twitter!

We’d love you to be there. We know that you’ve got a bunch of people following you on Twitter, many Facebook friends and that people are interested in what you say. This is a great night for taste-makers and connectors in the arts world and it’s guaranteed to be a great show.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

The Baxter launches Dramatix, an all-new loyalty programme

The Baxter Theatre Centre is thrilled to announce that we’ve been working hard on a brand-new loyalty club that we’re calling the Dramatix Club, and we’re finally ready to launch it to you.

Dramatix has been specially designed for those of you who want to get more out of the Baxter theatre experience. What this means is you’ll be the first to know about shows opening at the Baxter, you’ll receive VIP treatment when you’re here and you’ll be invited to performances and events that are not open to the general public.

The cost of annual membership is R570 all-inclusive, and we’re opening the club with a special offer to attend the final dress rehearsal for Solomon & Marion, the new Baxter production written and directed by Lara Foot and starring the world-renowned Dame Janet Suzman. This is your chance to see the creative team making the final tweaks to the show, and a chance to meet & greet this great actress in the private Dramatix lounge after the show.

Here’s a full list of all the benefits you’ll receive:

  • invitations to final dress rehearsals of Baxter productions
  • Q&A sessions with actors, directors and other theatre luminaries
  • free parking
  • exclusive access to the Dramatix Lounge
  • a backstage tour of the Baxter
  • exclusive e-mail newsletter content
  • advance booking opportunities
  • If you would like to join Dramatix, please call Sharon Alexander on 021 680 3962, or e-mail Haidee at baxtheatre@mweb.co.za for more information.

    We look forward to having you.

    James Cairns on ‘Dirt’ and the art of the one-man show

    From the 15th to the 24th of August, the weird and wonderful mind of James Cairns will inhabit the Golden Arrow Studio at the Baxter Theatre. Cairns is performing his one-man show ‘Dirt’ where he inhabits the soul of three friends and one dog. We caught up with him to pick his brain about what he’s bringing to Cape Town audiences.

    Baxter Blog: Where did the inspiration for Dirt come from?
    James Cairns: Nick Warren is the writer and the characters and situations are loosely based on a poker school that he was a member of.

    BB: What’s the secret to being able to switch effortlessly between characters?
    JC: Ninja powers of concentration.

    BB: What are the pros of a one man show?
    JC: If I fluff my lines, no-one knows except me.

    BB: And the cons?
    JC: No matter how big the standing ovation, you still have to go back to the dressing room on your own and hi-five yourself. No-one to share the experience with.

    BB: What great work did you see at the Grahamstown Festival, if any?
    JC: I saw The Feather Collector, which despite uber-crap venue, rose to the occasion admirably. Great stuff, directed by Mongi Nthombeni and starring a cast of young performers who surprised me every step of the way. It was the only thing I stood up for during the whole festival.

    BB: What can audience members expect when they come see Dirt?
    JC: A robust, hilarious, story about three old friends on their way to
    bury a fourth. Great writing, slick performance and a story that talks
    to all of us.

    BB: When did you last perform in Cape Town?
    JC: Last year, September at Kalk Bay, with Dirt, in fact.

    BB: Did you once win “Who wants to be a millionaire?”?
    JC: I did indeed. Not the million, but nonetheless, a princely sum at that time in my life.

    BB: Are you a millionaire?
    JC: I am not. It’s all lies…

    Dirt is running in the Golden Arrow Studio from the 15th to the 27th of August.

    When you need inspiration, get on your feet and find it

    So I was sitting here struggling with ideas on what to write about, fiddling around on the internet. But the beauty of this job and of being at the Baxter is that you are guaranteed to find someone, somewhere in the building doing incredible work and expressing not only what they feel but what you feel as well.

    You just have to get on your feet and find them.

    So first I wandered into the Concert Hall to find a troupe of seven or eight marimba players sitting on the stage, slowly working out and developing complex polyryhthms and tones to beguil and intrigue the listener, and to banish once and for all the thought that this African music and African instruments cannot deliver complex, thought-provoking content. I don’t know the name of the group, but I know that the legendary musician Dizu Plaatjies is showcasing students from the SACM African Music Studio.

    Then I stroll into the rehearsal room to see contemporary dance companyJazzart working on a run of their show. Took me 2 seconds to realise I needed my video camera. And I sat and watched, transfixed and transported by what these men and women are able to convey and do with their bodies. You should have been there, and hopefully you will be when they open. Also next Tuesday.

    The dancers are telling their stories…not only with their bodies, but with their words, their choice of music, the twitch of a muscle that conveys a history of love and hurt, bullying and friendship. There is a reason they are the premier contemporary dance company in South Africa in my book. They are that good.

    And there I was just sitting here, bored. Shame on me. And shame on you if you don’t come, support, feed on this art.

    You will be the loser.

    Marianne Thamm: ‘Comedy allows us to say the unsayable’

    Marianne Thamm is many things to many people. As a journalist, author, columnist and Fleur Du Cap judge, her influence on the arts in South Africa is well documented. She is also one of the funniest writers around, and her collaboration with the women of Cracks and the City in 2010 was a resounding success.

    Currently in rehearsal for Cracks 2, we spoke to her about the sequel, the essence of humour and the difference between male and female comics.

    BB: What is funny?
    Marianne Thamm: Funny is what happens in that space between what we say and what we really think. Comedy allows us to say the unsayable in a very particular way. There are different ways of being funny and not everyone has the same sense of humour. Laughter, unlike an orgasm, can’t be faked. Which is why Cracks is unique in a way. We are four women who all make humour quite differently but it all ties together somehow. Personally I find the world very funny..I don’t consider myself particularly funny…in the end it is the audience that has the sense of humour.

    BB: Is there a fundamental difference between male and female comics?
    MT: Fundamentally no…There are just more men on stage than women. And perhaps we bring a different perspective to some things but our humour is located in the world around us and not specifically in being a woman, a mother, a girlfriend or a wife…

    Laughter, unlike an orgasm, can’t be faked.

    BB: How did the Cracks and the City concept come to be?
    MT: Well, about a year ago I began thinking about why I didn’t see many of the funny women I know up on mainstream stages. Women were doing small comedy gigs in clubs while a lot of the male comedians were taking mainstream space at festivals and on their own. So I thought about who I would like to see on stage myself. I have always found Anthea Thompson to be one of the funniest character actresses in the country and I was just dying to see her on stage again.

    I also wanted to push the rules and boundaries of what “comedy” could be and Anthea would never do traditional stand-up per se. She’s great at finding the humour in characters. So I called her with this mad idea and asked if she’s be willing to try this out. She said yes immediately. Then I had seen Anne and Shimmy work and just love the originality of their voices and the scope of their humour. They are just comedians, not female comedians and that’s what I was looking for. I didn’t want to be on stage myself but Pieter Dirk Uys had encouraged me after I told him about a “funny lecture” I had written about how the 21st Century is better than the 20th. He said perform it. I did and it became part of the original Cracks And The City.

    BB: What can audiences expect this time around?
    MT: We’ve written new material and sketches. We did three months of month-end, Friday shows at the Flipside.

    All our friends and our brilliant director Alan Committie told us we were mad and that no one has ever done that.

    Come up with completely new material every month. The usual comic routine has a shelf-life of between six months to a year. Some comedians do the same routine for many years but it changes and gains nuance and different significance depending on the world around us. So we found loads of new material that we’ve expanded and honed for this show. We’re also going to film new sketches which is an important component of the show.

    Our sketches bring a different rhythm to the evening and we work with the fabulous filmmakers at Zootee productions, Stacey Kepler and Faheema Hendriks who understand visual comedy and always make us better.

    BB: Tell us about your co-stars in the show?
    MT: Well, I have mentioned a bit about them in the question about how we came to be but apart from that we are all very different but we get on and understand and respect each other. I love the creative space we create when we work together and when we get into a comic groove I think we’re really very funny. We’re more a collective than anything else although we all write our own material…I wouldn’t dream of performing something without first checking what Anthea, Anne, Shimmy and Alan think of it…And I trust their judgement…I just wanted to add here that none of them are very good at X box…I got the highest scores the other night.

    BB: Has South African comedy come of age?
    MT: Yes, long ago…

    BB: Where to from here?
    MT: We’d like to do something for TV..we’re working on it….

    Cracks and the City 2 begins its run on the 1st of August in the Golden Arrow studio at the Baxter Theatre. Click here for bookings.

    Purgatorio reviews begin rolling in

    Now that the pressure of the opening weekend is behind them, the Purgatorio cast and crew can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on delivering top-quality theatre every night of the week.

    All the reviews that we’ve seen so far have been positive, informed and intelligent.

    We’ve collected all the online reviews we’ve seen so far in one place so you can browse them at your leisure. If you find any others, please let us know and we’ll build this collection.

    What’s On In Cape Town

    Kiss This Twice

    The Daily Maverick

    Your Soapbox

    The Writing Studio