Iconic Baxter Theatre turns 40 as 'The Fall' takes Edinburgh by storm

Cape Town's iconic Baxter Theatre celebrates its 40th birthday this month.

The landmark theatre marked the momentous occasion by opening six productions simultaneously at the world renowned Edinburgh Assembly Fringe Festival.

Lara Foot, CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter Theatre Centre, reflected on the history and significance of the venue and the success at Edinburgh.

The Baxter Theatre came about when the late Dr William Duncan Baxter left money in his will to the University of Cape Town (UCT) to build an inclusive theatre.

He wanted to build a theatre that would accommodate both black and white audiences during apartheid.

Lara Foot, CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter Theatre Centre

Foot explains that the Baxter existed as a voice for truth during the apartheid era, showing many protests plays.

Somehow, the Baxter got away with telling the truth. At the time, it wasn't only about what you could say on stage, but who could be there.

Lara Foot, CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter Theatre Centre

We have a wonderful, loyal public and artists that are fantastically talented that perform constantly at the Baxter.

Lara Foot, CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter Theatre Centre

It existed like a living newspaper; the truth was getting out. Theatre had a lot to do with transformation and bringing down the (apartheid) government.

Lara Foot, CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter Theatre Centre

Read: The Fall theatre production dissects complex student stories

Today, the Baxter is one of the busiest independent theatres in Africa and continues to be a voice for truth.

'The Fall' is among the six cutting edge productions sent to the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.

'The Fall' was commissioned by the Baxter and workshopped by an ensemble cast of UCT alumni.

It sold out and ran at the Baxter for two seasons and has taken Edinburgh by storm - winning the The Stage 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Award and the Scotsman’s Fringe First Award.

'The Fall' cast member Zandile Madliwa says the audiences have been extremely receptive and the cast has been overwhelmed by the support.

We never expected all this incredible feedback. Within our first two weeks of performing here, we received two awards and we've gotten three five-star reviews. It has been incredible!

Zandile Madliwa, actress and 'The Fall' cast member

We're so appreciative and love the fact that people understand the importance of the stories that we have to share.

Zandile Madliwa, actress and 'The Fall' cast member

It's so relatable to so many movements around the world. A call has to be made for change.

Zandile Madliwa, actress and 'The Fall' cast member

Foot says she has never before worked with such a dynamic cast and says 'The Fall' will return to the Baxter in September, before touring other parts of the world.

Take a listen to the story of the Baxter Theatre and how 'The Fall' has been shining abroad:

Profile image: Fahiem Stellenboom via UCT News.


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
[LISTEN] Idols finalist Paxton Fielies chats about her life and dreams

[LISTEN] Idols finalist Paxton Fielies chats about her life and dreams

The 16-year-old Idols finalist in studio with CapeTalk's Pippa Hudson.

Inside the volunteer project that's rebuilding 3 Khayelitsha schools in 7 days

Inside the volunteer project that's rebuilding 3 Khayelitsha schools in 7 days

Mellon Educate is on mission is to expand and refurbish ill-equipped schools across SA. Pippa Hudson witnesses them in action.

It's your right to return your Black Friday buy if it's faulty - Wendy Knowler

It's your right to return your Black Friday buy if it's faulty - Wendy Knowler

Black Friday is around the corner and consumer journalist Wendy Knowler says it's important to be prepared and cautious.

[LISTEN] Comedy masterpiece Tartuffe is on at the Baxter Theatre

[LISTEN] Comedy masterpiece Tartuffe is on at the Baxter Theatre

The play directed by Sylvaine Strike is on at the Baxter Theatre Centre. Neil McCarthy talks about his return to Cape Town stage.

The Fall theatre production dissects complex student stories

The Fall theatre production dissects complex student stories

Seven UCT drama graduates have created a stage production that gives the youth-led revolution a voice and platform to reflect.

Zabalaza Theatre Festival takes SA's theatre production to the next level

Zabalaza Theatre Festival takes SA's theatre production to the next level

Pippa Hudson speaks to the Artistic Director of the Zabalaza Theatre Festival which is currently underway at the Baxter theatre.

Popular articles
Is taking items from the hotel room stealing?

Is taking items from the hotel room stealing?

Tsogo Sun Cape regional manager explains which items are free to be taken home by guests and why.

Why SA lost the Rugby World Cup bid: 'It is all about the money'

Why SA lost the Rugby World Cup bid: 'It is all about the money'

Stephen Grootes spoke to rugby writer and commentator Andy Capostagno.

Soldiers detain Robert Mugabe

Soldiers detain Robert Mugabe

Grace Mugabe may have fled to Namibia. Bruce Whitfield interviews political commentator Rashweat Mukundu.

I think we are going to witness a coup d'état in slow motion - Zim journalist

I think we are going to witness a coup d'état in slow motion - Zim journalist

According to reports in Zimbabwe, the military has taken over and has been making public announcement since Tuesday night.

WATCH: Innovative spray limits toilet flushes and saves water

WATCH: Innovative spray limits toilet flushes and saves water

Loo Me is a simple yet effective scented foam that takes the yuck out of "mellowing" toilets preventing multiple flushes.