Athol Fugard hot news

The Island  in Chicago.  Adolphus Ward passes away.  Fugard awarded honorary degree in Literature.  A thesis on Blood Knot available online.

Please pass on details of any performances etc click here.  Last update 16 Jul 2022.

Valley Song in California, USA


ICT present Valley Song from 24 Aug - 11 Sept 2022 at ICT's home in the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center.

The director is caryn desai (she writes her name without capitals) and the two roles are played by Michael A. Shepperd and Belle Guillor.

"Written after the collapse of South Africa's system of institutionalized racial oppression known as apartheid, Valley Song reflects Fugard's optimism for a new future as it examines a family's intergenerational dynamics against the backdrop of political change".

Details are on the ICT website here.


The Island in Chicago

Athol Fugard The Island - Court Theatre Chicago

Court Theatre, the professional theatre of the University of Chicago, present The Island.  The director is Gabrielle Randle-Bent.  It runs from 11 Nov- 4 Dec 2022.  More details when available.

"John and Winston are political prisoners on South Africa’s infamous Robben Island, spending their days toiling at grueling, futile tasks in the prison’s quarry. At night, they secretly rehearse a two-man version of Antigone and find solace and strength in their burgeoning friendship. The Island is at once a sobering glimpse into the social, physical, and psychological wounds of Apartheid; a lesson in the complex work of liberation; and a testament to the transformative power of theatre".

Details are on the Court Theatre website here.




"I sing for beloved Fountain actor Adolphus Ward"

Athol Fugard and Adolphus Ward

Adolphus Ward who played in Fugard's Coming Home and The Train Driver has passed away aged 88.  There is a moving tribute by Stephen Sachs, Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre "In Fugard’s The Train Driver, he played a gravedigger overseeing a bleak South African burial site for the unknown and unwanted, who “puts the nameless ones in the grave.” I’ll never forget the moment in the play when Adolphus, as the gravedigger, sang a Xhosa lullaby to the souls in the ground who were “sleeping.” The song floated from Adolphus like smoke on the night air. Haunting, beautiful, quietly transcendent". The link is on Intimate Excellent- the Fountain Theatre blog - click here.


Blood Knot thesis

LeHigh University

A thesis "The evolution of Athol Fugard's The blood knot" is now available online at the website of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The MA thesis is by Kim Lauren McKay from 1987.

"The published script from the 1960's was not to be the last for The Blood Knot, however, and in the 1980's Fugard turned his attention again to this play. This new, shorter version succeeds without the early poetic stance and natural imagery; it relies instead on a more
forceful tone and a more clearly political message, both of which comment on the artist and his world "

You can read the thesis on the Lehigh Preserve website  here.


Encyclopædia Britannica Web's Best Site

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopædia Britannica has listed this site as the Web's best site on Athol Fugard.  Thanks- click on the image for the encyclopædia.


Too late- see what you missed!!


The Road to Mecca in Ohio, USA

Dayton Theatre Guild in Ohio present The Road to Mecca from 3- 19 Dec 2021.  The director is Scott Madden.

"Helen Martins is a South African woman living in a Christian community. She realizes she is getting older, and her neighbors expect her to move into a nursing home. Pastor Byleveld comes to her house to collect the papers approving her move, but Helen refuses to sign. Her friend, Elsa comes to visit from Cape Town, hoping to help settle the situation, and Helen’s neighbors are concerned about the odd sculptures Helen is creating in her yard."

More details are on the Dayton website click here.



My Children! My Africa! in USA

Athol Fugard My Children! My Africa!

Washington State Guild present My Children! My Africa! from 11 Nov- 15 Dec 2021.  The director is Gerrad Alex Taylor.

"The great South African playwright’s meditation on education and its role in the struggle for justice, along with its sad limits in a culture of oppression and bigotry. In an Eastern Cape Karoo town in South Africa in 1984, devoted teacher Mr. M seeks to provide a future for his prize pupil Thami by forming a debate team with a bright student from the local white school, Isabel. But Mr. M’s hopes for Thami are challenged by their generational divide and the political violence brewing outside the classroom."

Details are on the Washington State Guild website click here.



The Road to Mecca in NC, USA

Fugard The Road to Mecca

Burning Coal Theatre Company are performing The Road to Mecca from 2- 19 Dec 2021.  The director is Jerome Davis.  It is at their theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina.  More details when available.



Blood Knot in South Africa

Craig Palm and Mncedisi Shabangu perform Blood Knot in The Market Theatre, South Africa. It is on from 15 Oct 2021. The director is James Ngcobo.

Craig Palm says “Blood Knot is about the bond between two brothers. It is about being frustrated by how their environment limits their dreams… You know why I love this character [Morris]; it was played by white people and I am the first [black] person to play it. Morris is self-taught and reads a lot. He has travelled and seen places more than his brother. He decides to leave his brother for 10 years and explore the world. He returns later to connect with his brother. He wants to involve his brother and show him that he can aspire to have dreams. Because he wants this to happen and he is saving every cent.”

The quotes are from interview by Patience Bambalele, 1 Oct 2021 from Sowetan live click here.

Update: Craig Palm has pulled out citing health reasons.  He is replaced by Francois Jacobs.



Blood Knot in Cape Town, South Africa

Blood Knot in Cape Town 

Market Theatre's production of Blood Knot comes to the Baxter in Cape Town.  It runs from 11- 28 May 2022.

"Two brothers navigate the intricacies of being stuck in a place that offers them nothing but it's squalor and the poverty they are confronted with every single moment. They are forced to dream. The theme of hope runs through this very delicate conversation with South Africa’s present-day reality"..

Details are on the Baxter website here.



Fugard awarded honorary degree

Athol Fugard awarded honorary degree 

The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria has conferred the honorary doctorate (honoris causa) in Literature on Fugard.  The virtual ceremony took place on 30 April 2021.

“The Department of English extends its warmest congratulations to Athol Fugard on being awarded an honorary degree by the University of Pretoria,” said Prof David Medalie and Prof Molly Brown, Head of Department. “He is one of the world’s greatest living dramatists and has been a powerful chronicler, for more than six decades, of a wide range of South African experiences.”

“Fugard’s contribution is of inestimable importance to South African drama, literature and cultural life, and indeed to that of the entire English-speaking world,” added Prof Vasu Reddy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. “His writing shows the influence of global philosophical traditions such as existentialism, but his penetrating explorations of wider issues of identity and meaning are always firmly rooted in the local. There is little doubt that Fugard’s standing is not just local, but global. Indeed, he stands tall among the greatest playwrights of the 20th century.”

More details are here.


Statements After An Arrest Under the Immorality Act in London

Athol Fugard Statements After An Arrest Under the Immorality Act

The Orange Tree Theatre present Statements from 28 Aug-  2 Oct 2021.  It will also be streamed on 23, 24 Sept 2021.  The cast are Scarlett Brookes (Frieda Joubert), Richard Sutton (Detective Sergeant du Preez) and Shaq Taylor (Errol Philander) and the director is Diane Page.

More details are on the Orange Tree Theatre website here.


Blood Knot in South Africa

Athol Fugard Blood Knot

Francois Jacobs and Mncedisi Shabangu perform Blood Knot in The Market Theatre, South Africa. It is on from 15 Oct to 14 Nov 2021. The director is James Ngcobo.


Boesman and Lena at the Lincoln Centre, New York

The 2000 version of the Boesman and Lena film is on at the Lincoln Centre, NY on 6 Dec 2021.
Details are on the Lincoln Centre website click here.

A Place with the Pigs in Wisconsin, USA

The College of Arts and Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater present A Place with the Pigs from 5-9 Oct 2021.  It is at the Barnett Theatre in the Greenhill Center of the Arts.

"Based on an absurd but true story and directed by Bruce Cohen, this poignant and sometimes hilarious tale is about a Russian soldier who deserted during World War II and spent ten years hiding in his pigsty. As the play begins, Pavel Ivanovitch is preparing to rejoin the world and throw himself on the mercy of his countrymen… Will Pavel Ivanovitch ever be able to leave the pigsty, or is it his only safe haven?".

Athol Fugard A Place with the Pigs

Nongogo in South Africa

Nongogo is on at The Playhouse Company, Kwa-Zulu Nataal from 28 Aug- 4 Sept 2021.

"Directed by the legendary Bheki Mkhwane, Nongogo... will hit with shows running... Set in a shebeen outside of Johannesburg in the 1950s, the play focuses on the life of a shebeen queen who was once a prostitute. The production highlights some of the most thought-provoking topics about women".

More details are on The Playhouse Company website here.



Encyclopædia Britannica Web's Best Site

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopædia Britannica has listed this site as the Web's best site on Athol Fugard.  Thanks- click on the image for the encyclopædia.



Fugard Theatre closes permanently

Fugard Theatre

The Fugard Theatre has been closed for month because of the pandemic, but sadly is now closing permanently.

The theatre website states

"Dear Friends of The Fugard Theatre,  After a year of Covid closure it is with great regret and sadness that I have to confirm that The Fugard Theatre will close permanently with immediate effect.  We are not persuaded that it will be Covid safe or financially viable to reopen as a theatre in the foreseeable future."

Ismail Mahomed writes

"One of the most poignant lines ever to have been spoken on the stages of the theatre was by Athol Fugard. At its opening he said:
We are sitting on the laps of ghosts.
It was a fairly eerie thought but it meant more than just sitting on the laps of the ghosts of the people who lived in District Six.  We were sitting on the laps of Barney Simon, Ramaloa Makhene, Doris Sihula, Matsemela Manaka, Mavis Taylor, Lucille Gillwald and all those deceased artists who had used their creative voices to fight apartheid and censorship through theatre; and whose spirit had come to rejoice in the birth of a new post-apartheid mainstream, independent, free-thinking theatre." (The Conversation,18 Mar 2021, here).

Sad news.

Victory conversation on Zoom

The Provincetown Theatre

The Provincetown Theater and Capital Classics Theatre Company present a Zoom conversation with performance excerpts from Athol Fugard's one-act play, Victory on 27 Feb 2021.  This is streamed on Zoom and is free-of-charge.

Moderated by directors Jan Mason and Geoff Sheehan, the audience will discuss the play’s themes and their relevance and resemblance to our world today in between excerpts from the play as performed by artists from the Capital Classics Theatre Company.

Click here for details.


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