We use cookies on this website, you can read about them here. To use the website as intended please... ACCEPT COOKIES

Stages calling: Ruphin Coudyzer's production photographs from the Market Theatre

Coudyzer, Ruphin and Pavelka, Michael and Collins, Jane (2007) Stages calling: Ruphin Coudyzer's production photographs from the Market Theatre. [Show/Exhibition] [Creative Arts and Design > Theatre studies
Creative Arts and Design > Photography]
Creators:Coudyzer, Ruphin and Pavelka, Michael and Collins, Jane

This exhibition, originally mounted in Johannesburg, was curated in London by Pavelka and Collins. It is the first time an exhibition of theatre photography from South Africa has been seen in the UK and raised questions about the role of stage photography in capturing the ephemera of live performance and focused attention on the developments in scenography over the last 30 years in South Africa; how was the early Market Theatre work produced, given the strictures of the apartheid regime; a designer was rarely credited, so who was responsible for the iconic theatrical imagery, captured by Coudyzer, that we in the west associated with the struggle?

The London opening of the exhibition designed by Pavelka with accompanying text edited by Collins was timed to coincide with the Baxter Theatre's restaging of ‘Sizwe Banzi is Dead' by Athol Fugard at the National with the original cast which included John Kani.

Collins chaired a discussion ‘Theatre Agendas' at the National that attempted to address some of the questions raised by the exhibition. In collaboration with UK Arts International this Agendas was aimed at promoting dialogue between theatre practitioners and producers in Africa and Britain. With an invited audience drawn from the academic community and the professional sector, including actors, directors, venue managers and Arts funding bodies, Collins, Kani and Pavelka discussed the imperatives driving the new generation of theatre makers in South Africa and the emergence of a new theatrical aesthetic in the post-apartheid era.

This event was also the platform for the launch of the Africa Consortium UK aimed at developing collaborative projects and links with artists in Africa and the Diaspora of which Collins is a member of the steering committee.

Type of Research:Show/Exhibition
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Michael Pavelka

Michael Pavelka is an award-winning international scenographer who has designed over 130 productions world-wide, many of which have been new plays or new musicals. His 'Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'Galileo' both won Manchester Evening Standard Awards (for Best Production and Best Design respectively). 'Rose Rage' (a two-part adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy) won the 2002 Barclay's Theatre Award for Best Touring Production and (in a later production at the Chicago Shakespeare Company) the Chicago Jeff Awards nominated him for Best Costume Design. His designs for the Royal Shakespeare Company include 'The Odyssey', 'Two Gentlemen of Verona', 'Henry V' and 'Julius Caesar'. While on the Designer's Committee of Equity, he played a role in formulating prototype professional contracts for theatre designers. He is Course Leader of the Design for Performance course at Wimbledon College of Art.

Pavelka's early theatre work included designs for two productions by Lindsay Anderson including 'Holiday' at the Old Vic and for numerous other West End plays and musicals. He has exhibited at the 'Time and Space' and '2D>3D' expositions of stage design. From the mid to late 1990s Pavelka worked in Uganda with leading African writer-performers on the first African language production (in Lugandan) of Bertold Brecht's 'Mother Courage And Her Children', which toured the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa, and the African Odyssey season at the Kennedy Center, Washington DC.

Jane Collins

Research Interests

Performance, specifically the relationship between word and image. Collaborative practice, the interface between 'performance art' and 'art performance' as a potential site for the making of new work Re-staging renaissance plays in ways which engage and challenge contemporary audiences. Scenography. New writing. Contemporary African Performance and the reception and perception of work from the continent of Africa on the world stage.


Jane Collins is a Reader in Theatre and Contextual Studies Co-ordinator for Theatre at Wimbledon. She is a writer, Director and theatre maker who works all over the UK and internationally. She has a long association with the continent of Africa and for The Royal Court, with the National Theatre of Uganda, she codirected Maama Nalukalala N_dezze Lye (Mother Courage and her Children) by Bertolt Brecht, with a Ugandan cast in Kampala. This production, which was the first official translation of a play by Brecht into an African language, toured internationally. Her AHRC funded research into 'performing identities' resulted in a new work for the stage The Story of the African Choir which was developed in conjunction with the Market Theatre Laboratory in Johannesburg and performed at the Grahamstown International Festival in 2007. Throughout 2008-09 her research was mainly engaged with co-editing Theatre and Performance Design: a reader in scenography, which was published by Routledge in January 2010. This book, with over 52 texts is the first of its kind in this field. In addition, in 2009, her practice based performance research included re-staging the award winning Ten Thousand Several Doors for the Brighton International Festival. Collins has been asked to contribute an essay on Ten Thousand Several Doors to the forth coming collection Performing Site-Specific Theatre edited by Anna Birch and Joanne Tompkins to be published in late 2011.
In November 2009 Collins was commissioned by the V&A to research and produce a soundscape to accompany the forthcoming Space and Light: Edward Gordon Craig exhibition which opens in London in September 2010 and tours to Europe in 2011. Edward Gordon Craig is credited with being the founder of modern stage design. Collins was also one of a group of artists who participated in re:SEARCHING playing in the archive an exhibition at the ING Bank in the city of London in May 2010 in response to the Baring archive.
Research Statement
My research continues to focus on performance and practise based research methodologies which re-engage the 'theatrical' as a means of interrogating contemporary society. In 2007 I wrote an article for Studies in Theatre and Performance which examined the efficacy of performance as a means of investigating the construction of post colonial identities through the 'staging' of an African 'past'. One aspect of this research was an analysis of the scenographic framing of these performances for western audiences. Among the many outcomes of this process was the identification of a dearth of material with which to interrogate critically the visual aspects of performance in particular and the scenographic in general. Concurrent with this, in my role as Contextual Studies Coordinator for Theatre at Wimbledon, I was also concerned that students of theatre designdid not have a comprehensive body of accessible written texts to help them situate their own work and analyse the work of others. Theatre and Performance Design, a reader in scenography aims to fulfil this need and continues to be the main focus of my research as a practitioner and in my critical writing.

Your affiliations with UAL:Colleges > Wimbledon College of Art
Date:08 April 2007
Related Websites:http://www.ejpcollins.info/
Event Location:Olivier Foyer, Royal National Theatre, London
ID Code:1859
Deposited On:26 Nov 2009 23:12
Last Modified:25 Nov 2010 10:29
Repository Staff Only: item control page