Compilation production to highlight gender-based violence

Artwork by craftivist Nell-Louise Pollock, a featured artist in the One in Three production.

Cape Town Opera presents One in Three at the Artscape theatre on Friday November 25, at 6.30pm, and on Saturday November 26, at 11am and 3pm.

The production is a compilation of opera and play extracts aiming to raise awareness of gender-based violence.

Named for the horrifying proportion of abused women and girls in South Africa, One in Three opens with its first performance at Artscape on November 25, the same day the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign launches globally. November 25 is also the International Day of No Violence against Women.

Cape Town Opera’s artistic director Magdalene Minnaar has invited several women who are advocates for ending gender-based violence to share a few words in between the opera performances.

An embroidered artwork by featured artist Nell-Louise Pollock, an impassioned anti gender-based violence activist whose work is integrated into the performance and who will be one of the guest speakers, has been used as the concert programme cover, as a stark piece that represents the women, children and LGBTQIA+ communities that are silenced by gender-based violence. 

“None of us are immune to the consequences of gender-based violence in our communities. I want people to pause, pay respect, become aware, and spread the message to end gender-based violence,” says Pollock.

Extracts from the spirited Porgy and Bess, composed to a libretto by DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin, features Nonhlanhla Yende as Bess and Mandisinde Mbuyazwe as Crown. In the story, Bess is abused by Crown and the drug peddler Sportin’ Life, throughout the opera. Her attempts to find safety and a new life for herself with Porgy are constantly thwarted by the men’s interference and violence, threatening not only her autonomy but also her life. 

Amagokra (Heroes), composed by Sibusiso Njeza to an isiXhosa libretto by Asanda Chuma Sopotela, sees Linda Nteleza as Uyinene, Pumza Mxinwa and Lusibalwathu Sesanti as Umfazi, Nonhlanhla Yende as Nomakhwezi and narrator, joined by the Cape Town Opera Chorus. The plot grapples with themes of gender-based violence, femicide, victim-blaming and, ultimately, women’s strength through ordeal.

Excerpts from Die Kortstondige Raklewe van Anastasia W. (The short shelf-life of Anastasia W.), a play written by Marlene van Niekerk with incidental music by Braam du Toit, features guest artist Nicole Holm as Sus and Cape Town Opera Young Artist Van Wyk Venter as Daan. The play was written in response to the appalling statistics of violence against children in South Africa. The Anastasia named in the title refers to 11-year-old Annestacia Wiese, who was assaulted and murdered in Mitchell’s Plain in 2007.  

Tickets for the Artscape performances cost from R100 to R150 can be booked through Computicket.There are free performances taking place at the White City multi-purpose venue in Saldanha on Sunday December 4, at 3pm, and on Sunday December 11, at 3pm, at the Stellenbosch Town Hall.