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Malcolm Purkey

Theater in Post-Apartheid South Africa:
Lessons from an Artistic Director

Thursday, November 10th

Herter Hall 231, UMass

ISHA is proud to host the noted South African theater director and playwright, Malcolm Purkey, who will present a talk entitled ‘Theater in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Lessons from an Artistic Director’ on Thursday, November 10th, 5 pm, in Herter 231.

Malcolm Purkey is Artistic Director of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, one of the primary sites of anti-apartheid theater in South Africa before 1994, and still one of its most innovative centers. He is an award-winning director and playwright, and a founder member of the Junction Avenue Theatre Company. A teacher and academic, Purkey holds an MA in Theater Studies from the State University of New York and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) for twenty years.

Under Purkey’s direction, Junction Avenue has created a number of significant South African plays, including The Fantastical History of a Useless ManRandlords and RotgutTooth and Nail and Sophiatown, which enjoyed considerable national and international success. His production of Marabi played a six-week season in Britain for Africa95 and a highly successful season at the African Odyssey Festival at the Kennedy Centre in Washington in April 1997. In 1998 it featured at the Santa Fe International Theatre Festival and in Columbia, Maryland. Purkey’s last production with Junction Avenue, Love, Crime and Johannesburg, won a Vita award for Best New South African Play.

Malcolm Purkey’s recent productions at the Market Theatre include Hostile Takeover, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Sophiatown, The IslandDream of the Dog, and, most notably, The Girl in the Yellow Dress, which premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and enjoyed seasons in Cape Town, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Sweden. It also earned him a Fleur du Cap award for Best Director.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the English Department, Theater Department, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, and the Five College African Studies Council.

See Poster (PDF)