The Baxter is overjoyed to present the South African premiere of Lara Foot's highly acclaimed Othello.

The Baxter is super excited and proud to present Lara Foot’s highly anticipated Othello, by William Shakespeare, which makes its South African premiere, featuring a sterling creative team and cast.

The hugely acclaimed production, adapted and directed by Foot, made its debut at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus last year, to celebrated praise and earned her the Gustaf Theatre Award 2023 for Outstanding Artistic Achievement for the Direction of Othello. She once again teams up with an award-winning formidable creative team: designer Gerhard Marx, a fellow of the Eckhart Residency, the Sundance Film Institute, the Annenberg Fund and the Ampersand Foundation; Kyle Shepherd (music composition) and Patrick Curtis (lighting). She has assembled a stellar cast, led by Atandwa Kani in the title role of Othello, Albert Pretorius (Iago), Carla Smith (Desdemona), Faniswa Yisa (Emilia), Carlo Daniels (Cassio), Wessel Pretorius (Roderigo), Morne Visser (Brabantio), Lyle October (Montano), Tamzin Williams (Bianca), Awethu Hleli (various roles), Brendon Sean Murray (Duke and various roles), Nolufefe Ntshuntshe (various roles) and Caleb Swanepoel (various)

In this South African production, performed in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans, Foot focuses on Othello's inner life, wanting to add an African perspective, staging the play in several languages and relocates it to the time of German colonialism, to the time of the Herero uprising in German Southwest Africa, to present-day Namibia. ”The adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello by Lara Foot is an ambitious and provocative decolonial interpretation of the original piece. Set in Namibia (then German Southwest Africa), it invites audiences to grapple with the legacies of the brutal violence of colonisation hinting at the Herero and Nama genocide in the early 20th century,” explains Professor Shose Kessi, Dean of Humanities at the University of Cape Town. “There are many aspects of Foot’s production that propose a decolonial reading of Shakespeare’s Othello. Perhaps one of the most sophisticated so far, the piece fits into an emerging body of work that seeks to not only disrupt the centrality of Shakespeare and western literature in contemporary spaces but also to resist Eurocentric readings of the colonial past. It highlights the role of theatre as both a political instrument to challenge colonial violence and a possible site for decolonial love.“

When the production made its debut at Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus last year, the media raved, with Kölner Stadtanzeiger describing it as, “A powerful, thrilling season opener in Düsseldorf”. Nachricht wrote, “The South African theater maker Lara Foot manages to take a new perspective on Shakespeare's play: she places it in the heyday of European colonialism...” N.R.Z, called it, “well thought-out, consistent and stylish” and Rheinische Post said, “The audience at the opening premiere gave a resounding applause for an evening that is fed by Shakespeare's timeless knowledge of human nature as well as by a clever feeling for the present.”

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