In the News: Using theater to transform a nation: South Africa’s Athol Fugard

Excerpts from the New York Times article on , “His Next Stop: Driving Out Apartheid’s Ghost,” by Celia Duggard

The Fugard [new theater named in honor of the esteemed, white, South African playwright, Athol Fugard] is among many privately organized efforts — in culture, education and social services — that aim to help South Africa overcome the damage wrought by its colonial and apartheid-era past. The theater’s creators hope the transfiguring power of art will help change this breathtakingly beautiful, but still highly segregated, city by the sea.

“I assure you that every audience in this house will be sitting in the lap of a ghost,” Mr. Fugard, his eyes brimming with tears, told the audience, referring to the 60,000 residents of District Six who were driven from their homes during the apartheid years.

Mr. Fugard said in an interview that the new democratic South Africa — struggling with poverty and corruption, among other challenges — needs the arts of stagecraft “as urgently as the old South Africa needed those first few daring, sometimes suicidal acts of defiance in the theater.”

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