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Post-millennial South African theatre: politics, legacies and futures

Croton, Robert

Post-millennial South African theatre: politics, legacies and futures Thumbnail


Robert Croton


Mariangela Palladino

Rebecca Yearling

David Amigoni


During both the apartheid and post-apartheid eras, South African theatre has been a vital source of resistance and creativity. South African theatre-makers have proven the continuing vitality of representing resistance through postcolonial drama. The theatre of the post-apartheid era has been relatively understudied, and theatre since the year 2000 has seen even less sustained critical attention. In this thesis I explore the politics that have shaped six plays from the post millennial period. This thesis bridges a gap in scholarship by conceptualising the complex ways in which the definition of political theatre has developed and changed in the last decade and a half. I explore how the material and ideological environment of the period following apartheid is staged through theatre. My chapters use a range of critical frameworks to focus: (i) on the politics of burial and haunting; (ii) satire and truth and reconciliation; (iii) friendship and democracy; (iv) theatre festivals and (v) the animalhuman. Furthermore, the thesis’ primary texts range from well-known published plays to under-studied texts. Athol Fugard, for example, is considered through his unproduced play The Abbess (2006) and The Train Driver (2010). The postapartheid theatrical tradition of adaptation and appropriation is considered through the satirical MacBeki (2009) by Pieter-Dirk Uys, and the visceral syncretic play Molora by Yaël Farber (2008). The political implications of storytelling and friendship in London Road (2010) by Nicholas Spagnoletti and The Snow Goose at the 2015 National Arts Festival (NAF) turn attention to the potential future of South African politics as represented through politicised theatre. My fieldwork, involving conducting interviews and being a spectator at the NAF enables a conceptual discussion of the Festival experience, alongside a performance analysis of The Snow Goose drawn from ethnographic notes rather than published material.

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date 2019-06
Publicly Available Date Jan 5, 2024
Additional Information Embargo on access until 1 January 2024 - The thesis is due for publication, or the author is actively seeking to publish this material.


CrotonPhD2019.pdf (11.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This electronic version of the thesis has been edited solely to ensure compliance with copyright legislation and excluded material is referenced in the text. The full, final, examined and awarded version of the thesis is held by the University Library


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