VENUS VS MODERNITY – THE STORYOF SAARTJIE BAARTMAN

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Venus Vs Modernity was officially launched at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre on the 18th of September and it runs until September 28th before travelling to Holland at the beginning of October. Directed by Pamela Nomvete and Koleka Putuma, show marks award-winning poet Lebo Mashile’s first foray into writing and producing a full length theatrical work. It also marks the acting debut of world class, classically trained opera singer, Ann Masina, who co-stars in the play alongside Mashile in the title role of Venus. 
The production runs from 12th -28th of September 2019 at the Market Theatre in South Africa and then travels to Holland for the acclaimed Afrovibes Festival, an African-Dutch theatre festival which has taken place annually for more than two decades. Venus Vs Modernity will tour Holland with 6 performances in 5 different theatres from 3-13 October. It is poignant and befitting that the conversation around colonialism and its many legacies travels back to its roots in the form of a work exploring the life of Saartjie Baartman. 
Venus Vs Modernity tells the story of South African icon Saartjie Baartman whose horrific experiences of exploitation on account of her ample posterior have become a reference point for black women’s body image and representation worldwide. Venus Vs Modernity is an emotional, hilarious, poetic, musical and layered journey into the life of one of South African history’s most important women. 

This piece comes at a time when the country is on fire with conversations and protests on the issues of gender based violence and femicide. This current run of Venus Vs Modernity taking place at the Market Theatre as well as the tour of Holland with Afrovibes festival are both courtesy of the Windybrow Arts Centre. Venus Vs Modernity could not have come at a better time. This piece shows that history is as active as the present. It is a must watch for all South Africans.

Creative team

Writer Lebo Mashile 

Directors Pamela Nomvete

Koleka Putuma

Performers Anne Masina

Lebo Mashile 

Production Manager – Blythe Stuart Linger

Location, dates and times

4th October 2019 | 19:00 – 20:15Compagnietheater Arts Events | Kloveniersburgwal 50, 1012 CX Amsterdam, NetherlandsTickets € 16,- (with discount € 13,50) Online Link TICKETShttps://www.compagnietheater.nl/programma/venus-versus-modernity/

5th October 2019 | 20:45 – 21:55Het Nationale Theatre | Korte Voorhout 3, 2511 CA Den Haag, NetherlandsTickets € 21,50 (with discount € 18,- and 20,- )Online Link TICKETShttps://www.hnt.nl/voorstellingen/2712/Forgotten_Angle_Collective_Zuid_Afrika/Venus_Hottentot_vs_Modernity/

9th October 2019 | 20:00 – 21:10De Balie | Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 RR Amsterdam, NetherlandsTickets € 15,- (with discount € 12,50)Online Link TICKETShttps://debalie.nl/agenda/afro_vibes-venus-vs-modernity/

12th October 2019 | 20:30 – 21:40Pleintheater | Sajetplein 39, 1091 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tickets € 13,- (with discount € 11,-) Online Link TICKETShttps://www.plein-theater.nl/agenda/8131

13th October 2019 | 15:30 – 17:00 Maaspodium | Sint-Jobsweg 3, 3024 EH Rotterdam, NetherlandsTickets € 14,- (with discount € 11,-)  Online Link TICKETShttps://www.maastd.nl/voorstelling/venusvsmodernity/

MORE ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM

Pamela Nompumelelo Nomvete has worked in the entertainment industry for over thirty years as an actress, writer, director, educator and producer. After graduation from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in  July 1985, she embarked on a successful 9 year stage career in the UK after which she started working in South Africa in 1994. While in South Africa she continued to develop a successful career and became a household name because of her role in the popular South African Soap Opera, Generations

Pamela returned to the UK in 2007 and continued to work in the industry as well as write her first book, an autobiography, Dancing to the Beat of the Drum that was launched in South Africa in October 2014 having been published by Kwela Books. She spent a year on the longest running soap opera on English television, Coronation Street before returning to South Africa in 2014.

In June 2014 she wrote, directed and produced “Ngiyadansa” at the Joburg Theatre. Currently she works with various grass roots organisations using drama workshops to build self-esteem for the development and empowerment of young African female artists.

She  hosted and is the founder of the Rise Up and Walk International Youth Arts Festival in August 2015 in partnership with Joburg Theatre Youth Development Department.

Her most recent award was for best actress at the NAFCA (African Oscars) held in LA in September 2015, for her role in Nicholas Beveney’s film cut of his new political thriller television series, Kingmakers.

At the end of 2016 Pamela decided to return to South African stage and screens as an actress  and ended up playing Tutu Leah to Forest Whitaker’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, directing the Play Another Ones Bread by Mike Van Graan, that ran at the AFDA theatre in Cape Town and the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and is currently in the Mzanzi Magic hit show Lockdown for Mzanzi Magica.

Her credits include the Emmy nominated HBO film directed by Raul Peck and acting alongside Idris Elba Sometimes in April and is currently performing in The Convert  at the Young Vic Theatre London written by the Black Panther star Danai Gurira starring her fellow Black Panther star Letitia Wright.

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