The Baxter Theatre Centre has launched a Baxter Radio initiative aimed at recording school set-works, children’s books, new South African works and classics during lockdown. These will be made accessible to The Baxter’s subscriber database and to community radio stations.

Faniswa Yisa
Faniswa Yisa

Baxter fundraising initiative

Baxter Radio brings together 40 artists who have been involved to make these works available and which will be offered to radio stations as free content for their programming.

Borne out of a need to provide the many young children and learners who are at home during this time of isolation, Baxter Radio is intended to offer an alternative education and entertainment option.

Artists such as Marc Lottering (Aunty Merle, The Musical; Aunty Merle, it’s a Girl!), Susan Danford (John Kani’s Missing, Still Breathing), Jennifer Steyn (The Goat, or who is Sylvia?; The Inconvenience of Wings), Faniswa Yisa (Knuckle City; Ityala Lamwele), Andrew Buckland (Endgame) and Nicky Rebelo (Aunty Merle, It’s a Girl!), as well as  Tiisetso Mashifane (Sainthood), Khayalethu Anthony (The Champion; Solomon and Marion) and Kanya Viljoen (Raak).

They have teamed up with The Baxter to provide readings of award-winning books, an isiXhosa setwork, some classics and brand new plays written specifically for the Baxter Radio initiative.

Baxter CEO and artistic director, Lara Foot, explains, “I was concerned about the artists who are losing income during this lockdown and the many learners in communities who are unable to play outside and who do not have access to the internet. I wanted to find a way for The Baxter to create a platform that would contribute to a solution for both these challenges”.

She continues, “I’m not a fan of live-streaming because I believe that theatre doesn’t exist without the special connection between actor and audience. To distill theatre through a screen is what I call anti-theatre. However, the old and trusted medium of radio asks the audience to listen and engage, which is comparable to the form of theatre.”

“When I listened to the first editions of Baxter Radio, I was delighted and moved, and fondly remembered my childhood obsession of listening to stories on the radio.”

This initiative is also a perfect value-added service to the #BaxterCoffeeAngels, who have donated to its Buy The Baxter a coffee every month campaign.

Susan Danford reads popular children’s stories which include the Zambian tale The Hare’s Revenge from Nelson Mandela’s Favourite Stories for Children, Madiba Magic, Tacky The Penguin written by Helen Lester and Julia Donaldson’s A Squash and a Squeeze. Additional children’s stories in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa and isiZulu were supplied by Jacana Publishers.

Learners in Grades 10 to 12 will be able to tune in to listen to the reading of the isiXhosa set-work Buzani Kubawo, coordinated and directed by Faniswa Yisa and featuring 14 actors.

Classic plays such as Harold Pinter’s Landscape and Herman Charles Bosman’s Street Woman will be performed by Jennifer Steyn and Nicky Rebelo. Brand-new works by Tiisetso Mashifane and Khayalethu Anthony make up some of the new South African works content. Mashifane has created original content narrated in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans, which is a series of comedic short stories titled A Guide to Understanding Smaller Humans and is an attempt at understanding the world of young children through testimonies of amused older members of their families.

Marc Lottering will read Yusuf Daniel’s award-winning book Living Coloured (Because Black and White Were Already Taken), a series of short stories which are a fond remembrance of an era growing up on the Cape Flats.

As part of The Baxter’s efforts to ensure sustainability for years to come, a new fundraising campaign urging the public to “Buy The Baxter a cup of coffee every month” has also been launched. Donating to this campaign is simple and will enable the iconic theatre to continue creating cutting-edge and new South African works and support talented artists. The request is simply to donate R30 a month (debit or stop order).

What: Baxter Theatre Centre Baxter Radio
WS