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Bahamian actors to perform during 25th season of Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival

  • photo of actors performing

Posted on January 23, 2019

The 25th anniversary season of the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival will continue when actors from Nassau in the Bahamas visit the Allendale Campus to perform one of the most critically acclaimed productions ever presented in the Bahamas.

The festival’s “Bard Beyond Borders” series will present performances of “Sizwe Banzi is Dead” January 31 and February 1 at 7:30 p.m. and February 2 at 2 p.m. in the Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theatre, located in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts. A condensed version of the production will be performed during Grand Valley's Arts at Noon series on January 30 from 12-1 p.m. in the Cook-DeWitt Center.

All performances are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Louis Armstrong Box Office at (616) 331-2300. Performances are LIB 100 and LIB 201 approved for students.

Written by Athol Fugard, “Sizwe Banzi is Dead” is set in the landscape of South Africa’s apartheid era, a time of institutionalized racial segregation that spanned from 1948 until the early 1990s.

The story confronts the struggles faced by people of color during that time and addresses broader questions of human worth and identity. This is done through the lens of a man getting his picture taken in a photography studio.

“Sizwe Bansi is Dead” was originally featured during the 2014 Shakespeare in Paradise Theatre Festival, and these performances will reunite the director and the original two cast members.

“This is a special offering to celebrate something which acknowledges that theater is a global communicator and that we can all connect through it,” said Karen Libman, professor of theater. “We are excited to offer our students and the community the chance to see high-quality theater that they might not necessarily see otherwise.”

Grand Valley’s history with the Shakespeare in Paradise Theatre Festival dates back to 2011 when Bard to Go, the university’s traveling student Shakespeare troupe, was first invited to perform at the festival. Bard to Go also performed at the festival again in 2017.

While at Grand Valley, the Shakespeare in Paradise Theatre Festival actors will also facilitate theater workshops and classroom visits for students.

The Bard Beyond Borders series will continue in April with performances by a Shakespeare company from Egypt.