Report on the Cultural Exchange between Regina Theatre, Uppsala, Sweden
and The Baxter Theatre Centre, Cape Town, South Africa


Baxter visits Regina

After a half year of preparations the first part of the collaboration between Regina Theatre and The Baxter Theatre took place during January and February 2006 when The Baxter Theatre toured Sweden with Duck Rabbit’s production of “Hear and Now” by Lara Foot Newton and Lionel Newton.  

The tour started with a week at Stockholm’s Stadsteatern, Skärholmen, followed by a week at Pustervik Theatre in Gothenburg and finally a run at Regina Theatre. Audience and press reactions were unanimously excellent.

The Youth Exchange

During the tour the actors also gave much appreciated workshops to school and drama school students. One of these workshops took place in Uppsala with a group from Wik School of Further Drama Education. These students subsequently flew to South Africa to begin a youth exchange (funded by The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs) that ran parallel with the professional one. They worked for two weeks with the South African youth group, Phakama, work-shopping and creating a production ”Crossing Borders” that was first performed in the garden of Baxter Theatre. They then visited Uppsala where they were hosted by Regina Theatre and Wik for a return part of the exchange and the groups developed and performed their joint theatre piece at Regina on the 7th March.

Regina visits Baxter

In February 2006 Regina Theatre toured to Cape Town to present Kesselofski & Fiske’s production of “The Sinking of the Titanic”. The first night was attended by both the Swedish Ambassador (who gave a speech after the post-show reception) and the South African Minister of Culture. The play received excellent reviews (see attached) in all the Cape Town newspapers and despite power cuts attracted sizable and enthusiastic audiences.

During the two weeks in Cape Town meeting were held between the two partners to discuss future plans. It was agreed that John Fiske should return in May to work with Lara Foot Newton on developing the joint production.

“Reach” - our joint theatre production.

These discussions resulted in the joint theatre production Reach. Written by Lara Foot Newton and directed by John Fiske with co director Paul Savage.

“Reach” has been a truly joint theatre production. Developed around our project theme the cycle of violence, it deals with the fears and hopes of South Africa set in the near future, 2010 - the year of the World Cup football.

The production brought together a female Swedish actress, Anna Carlson and a male South African actor, Andile Nebulane working beautifully together portraying the old and new South Africa. It opened at Regina Theatre the 5th September 2007 in the presence of the South African Ambassador Mr S.R. Makgetla and the head of Uppsala Culture Board Mr Jan- Erik Wickström. Both audience and press were equally enthusiastic about the performance. See enclosed press clippings.  

After its run at Regina in Uppsala “Reach” was performed at Norrlands Operan in Umeå  and then opened in Stockholm at Boulevard Theatre for a run, playing to school audiences as well as adult audiences receiving standing ovations.

Our Goals

We feel that the project has reached all its goals. We have explored our theme: The cycle of violence both in exchanges of plays, workshops and the final joint-production.

The Workshops

By involving the young theatre students we have implanted the topic as well as created an ongoing network between our countries for future development both professionally and on a friendship basis. As a result of the workshops in connection with “Reach” yet another drama student exchange between Uppsala and Cape Town is currently being planned for spring 2008. All in all 160 students have attended workshops during the project period

Audiences and Media

We have reached a young and mixed audience that greatly enjoyed seeing “Crossing Borders”, “Titanic”, “Hear and Now” as well as  “Reach”  in Cape Town and in Sweden. The media has covered the project extensively both in the press editorials and enthusiastic reviews as well as radio and TV coverage. We have involved our many local organisations such as The University, local government, schools and church groups.

The professional result

The project has so far created work for 6 actors, 4 technicians, 4 stage/lighting designer, 1 stage manger, 2 dramatists, 2 directors, 6 drama teachers, 2 producers, 2 controllers and a lot of additional staff at the theatres.

The work process itself has all been conducted in a democratic way throughout. The staff at Baxter and Regina developed a good working relationship. Recognising each other’s strong sides and dividing the work in such a way that we make the most out of everybody’s specific skills. We have also made this into a learning process where actors, technicians and administrators have shared their skills. The mutuality by the two partners has proved to be strong and has spread to other parts of our cities and networks.

Artistically this partnership has been exciting and professionally stimulating. Seeing and discussing each others work, working with the students and now having finalised the process by creating our joint production we feel that the work has been rewarding and are looking forward to future collaborations.

A video record of the exchange is being made by Johan Segerstedt (from GUC high school in Uppsala) and is currently being edited into an hour’s program.

Paul Kessel – Artistic Director, Regina Theatre

Maria Björk – Project Manager, Regina Theatre

Mannie Manin - Director, Baxter Theatre




Read more about the results on this project (Swedish, Landstinget i Uppsala län)



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