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February 19, 2009

Brett Bailey infects Cape Town

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Infecting the City 2008, photo courtesy Yasser Boodley

The city of Cape Town is set to be infected with art from February 21-27, 2009 when dramatic teams from Europe, South Africa and other Southern African countries perform in the streets.

Infecting the City is a thought-provoking new art festival that has emerged out of the Spier Performing Arts Festival and is now presented by The Africa Centre. This edgy, site-specific series of collaborative and performance works will transform the Cape Town city centre into an exciting theatre venue, pushing the boundaries of street performance.

The events will be accessible to everyone; and attending them is a new way of exploring Cape Town’s public spaces.

The festival’s curator is award-winning director and writer Brett Bailey. Hailed as the “wild child of South African theatre” by the Wits School of Performing Arts, Bailey has written, directed and designed a number of controversial and acclaimed plays such as Big Dada, Ipi Zombi?, iMumbo Jumbo and The Prophet.

He was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Drama in 2001 and won the FNB Vita awards for Best Costume Design and Best New South African Script for Big Dada in 2002. This provocative play also won him the Fleur de Cap director’s award.

With a “home affairs” theme, Infecting the City promises to be just as thought-provoking. Many of the works will address the issue of xenophobia at a time when last year’s horrific attacks on foreigners living in South Africa are still fresh in our minds.

Visitors can look forward to a full programme, including Amakwerekwere (Thibault Square), Exile (Adderley Street Fountains) and Limbo (Church Square). These shows will highlight the new forms of discrimination, segregation and victimisation that have infected South Africa.

Amakwerekwere is a derogatory term used for foreigners, who have become the scapegoats for a lack of employment, crime and even failed relationships for some South Africans.

The festival also provides a new perspective on Cape Town’s heritage. An Histrionic, for example, is a cultural tour – with a difference – of South Africa’s oldest surviving building, the Castle of Good Hope, built in 1679. 

For more information on the festival and the venues themselves, please visit the Infecting the City website, where you will also find a full programme of events.

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