Baxter Back on Stage with Gregory Maqoma and Zolani Mahola - a Baxter benefit gala and season

Renowned artists Gregory Maqoma and Zolani Mahola take to The Baxter stage, for the first time, in a unique benefit season, Baxter Back on Stage with Gregory Maqoma and Zolani Mahola, from 3 to 7 November.

Two of South Africa’s internationally revered artists – Gregory Maqoma (choreographer, dancer, teacher and director) and Zolani Mahola (popular singer/songwriter/storyteller), will share the Theatre stage in an exclusive limited season, Baxter Back on Stage with Gregory Maqoma and Zolani Mahola, from 3 to 7 November 2020, at 7pm.

Championed by the University of Cape Town’s vice chancellor, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, this season celebrates The Baxter’s return to opening its doors at Level 1 and serves as a benefit fundraiser aimed at helping to recover the loss of income, over the past six months during lockdown.

The special gala performance for invited guests and donors with limited seats available for purchase to the public at R1000, will be hosted by the vice chancellor and Marc Lottering as the master of ceremonies, on Tuesday, 3 November only, and the ticket price includes dinner and drinks.

The other performances take place from 4 to 7 November and ticket prices range from R350 to R500 which includes snacks and drinks before the performances.

Baxter Back on Stage with Gregory Maqoma and Zolani Mahola will for the first time ever, see these two esteemed artists collaborate and appear on a stage together, each with their own brand-new work.  “This specially-commissioned performance is a coup for the Baxter”, says Lara Foot, CEO and artistic director. “I can’t think of a classier act. We are honoured to have these two creatives and national treasures on our stage, in one production, to celebrate our return to live theatre and welcoming back audiences and artists.”

All performances will be limited to fifty percent capacity, with COVID-19 protocols in place as regulated at Level 1 during the national state of disaster. These will include the availability of hand sanitisers, tracking and tracing recorded, wearing of masks and physical distancing. Patrons and audience members are advised to arrive at least an hour before the start of the performance to avoid delays.

Maqoma, well-known for his award-winning Rhythm and Beauty trilogies will debut his brand-new work, No Humour, in collaboration with Xolisile Bongwana, which brings together live sound and movement in a visually appealing landscape of ritual and which forms part of his Human trilogies. In this work he explores the delicate balance of sensuousness, violence, ethical sensitivity, ugliness, grace and humour, where there is none. It is a delicate, sublime meeting of words, movement and sound, entrenched in the human fibre of existence, of life trapped in time that is shortened by each second that passes.

He is the founder and creative director of the Johannesburg-based Vuyani Dance Theatre most recently received the Naledi Theatre award for Best Contemporary Dance/Ballet for Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero, which toured Africa and Europe with great applause and success. Other recent success includes choreographing and performing in William Kentridge’s new opera The Head and The Load, which premiered at The Tate Modern Gallery in London in July 2019 with a world tour that includes Germany, Holland, Austria and New York.

He has won several coveted awards which include the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance (2002), Bessie, New York City’s premier dance award for Exit/Exist for original music composition, the Chevalier de l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Arts & Literature) Award from the French Government (2017).

Founder and former lead singer of the critically acclaimed Freshlyground, Zolani Mahola is The One Who Sings – a South African storyteller, soulful singer, award-winning actress and an inspirational icon. She is well-loved and respected by South Africans for unifying the country through music and bridging social, racial and cultural divides. Last year she officially announced the launch of her solo career as a musician, storyteller and public speaker.

Her launch production, The One Who Sings played to sold out audiences and received critical acclaim at The Baxter last year and for which she won a Fleur du Cap Best performance by a lead actress in a musical or music theatre show award. The Sunday Times described her as one of South Africa’s best and inspiring singers, while Glamour said that she is “iconic among South African women.”

For the Baxter Back on Stage season Zolani Mahola, who has adopted the name The One Who Sings, will present the inaugural staging of her multimedia show You Need To Say It, featuring songs from her upcoming 2021 solo album by the same name, one year after leaving the legendary pan-African supergroup Freshlyground.

The work is an exploration of song and story, including themes of connection and its opposite, nature and the elements as well as the sanctity of the time of childhood. She has assembled a stellar team of collaborators comprising visual and auditory storytellers Inka Kendzia and Sean Ou Tim (Mr Sakitumi) and guitarist and film producer Frank Freeman.

Baxter Back on Stage with Gregory Maqoma and Zolani Mahola runs at the Baxter Theatre for five performances only, from 3 to 7 November at 7pm. Ticket prices for the special gala performance on 3 November are R1000 and includes dinner and drinks. Ticket prices for performances from Wednesday 4 to Saturday 7 November range from R350 to R500 and include light snacks and drinks. Booking is through Webtickets only on 086 111 0005, online at www.webtickets.co.za or at Pick n Pay stores.

For further media enquiries, interviews or pic requests, contact Fahiem Stellenboom on fahiem.stellenboom@uct.ac.za or call 021 680 397 or Jade Adams on jade.adams@uct.ac.za or call 021 680  3983.