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New Territories

Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa


Greg Homann and Marc Maufort

South African theatre, drama, and performance is a vibrant and rapidly developing area of contemporary theatre studies. In this critical anthology of essays and interviews, some of the world’s most respected scholars and practitioners writing and working in the area of South African theatre today share their detailed examinations and insights on the complex and contradictory context of post-apartheid society. Loosely grouped into the categories of Theatre, Drama, and Performance, the essays collected here offer a sampling of work being staged, produced, and written in the country today. The contributors document, contrast, and analyse significant case studies, representing examples from site-specific performance to new South African plays, from traditional indigenous performance practice to the reimagining of Western classics. The anthology takes the year of South Africa’s first democratic election, 1994, as its departure point and includes a broad range of topics that capture the current paradigm.
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“My Exit Interview.” Malcolm Purkey Talks to Geoffrey Davis


← 344 | 345 → “My Exit Interview”

Malcolm Purkey, Artistic Director of the Market Theatre (17 January 2005 to 31 July 2013), Talks to Geoffrey Davis

This interview took place on July 3rd, 2013 at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa

GD: Looking back at that Aachen lecture you gave so many years ago, before you became artistic director of the Market you said: “In the context of the extraordinary achievement of the ‘new’ South Africa we are granted a wonderful freedom to be critical, to be dissident, to be irreverent, to be playful.” In the light of that statement what do you see as your major achievement over the period you have been artistic director? Have you been able to meet the challenge you articulated then?

MP: I suppose the times have become much darker since the promise of 1994. That first surge of what they now call the honeymoon seemed so full of promise. The darkness that has come upon us in relation to lack of delivery, issues of corruption, the new generation of much more pragmatic politicians means that some of the irreverence and playfulness that I suggested was possible has not been as easy to achieve as I thought. However, I should note that one of the successes of this period of the last twenty years is that it has meant that the terrain has opened up quite widely. The kind of focus that the South African theatre...

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