Hold Still

Theatre / Graeme College

Acclaimed playwright, Nadia Davids and director Jay Pather, once again team up for her latest play, Hold Still, winner of the Fleur du Cap Best New South African Script and Best Actress awards. It tells the story of a family shaped by different generational traumas who must confront their own histories to get through a single, life-changing night. The multi-themed play focuses on a long-term marriage and through it, examines the limits of middle-class empathy, the complexities of an inter-racial, intra-cultural family living in the shadow of catastrophic political histories and what we’ll do to protect those we love.
Set against a contemporary cosmopolitan London, rife with xenophobia, the fear of the stranger is a steady theme throughout the play. A progressive, dynamic, North London couple – she’s the daughter of South African exiles, he’s the son of a man who escaped on Kindertransport – must grapple with what their response to their son’s actions reveals about their marriage, their histories and how it tests their image of themselves.

Business Day described it as “ … a thrilling but chastening experience …” and Daily Maverick wrote, “While these topics are difficult, they are handled by the cast with powerful grace, presenting a story … with heart, hope and even a little humour” while Broadway said, “ … incredibly intriguing … a powerful piece.”


Direction: Jay Pather
Cast: Andrew Buckland, Mwenya Kabwe, Tailyn Ramsamy, Lyle October
Set Design: Patrick Curtis
Lighting Co-Design: Wilhelm Disbergen, Franky Steyn
AV: Wilhelm Disbergen
Sound Design: Neo Muyanga
Costume Design: Angela Nemov
Production Manager: Marisa Steenkamp
Stage Manager: Puleng Mabuya
Vocal coach: Susan Danford
Administrative Producer: Beth Jeffery
Assistant Stage Manager: Nosibusiso (Queen) Jacobs
Sound and AV Technician: Babalo Hambi
Set Builders: Baxter production crew


Nadia Davids is a South African writer, scholar and theatre-maker.
Her plays At Her Feet, Cissie, and What Remains have garnered various theatre awards and nominations (twelve Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, one Noma, one
Naledi and the Oliver Schreiner Award for Drama), been staged locally and internationally, and are published by Oxford UniversityPress and WITS University Press. Her debut novel An Imperfect Blessing (Random House) was long-listed for the South African Sunday Times Fiction Award and shortlisted for the Pan-African Etisalat Prize for Literature. She was a part of the New York Women’s Project Playwright’s Lab (2008-2010) and has held writing residencies at the Ledig House (2012, 2015) and at Hedgebrook (2016). Her personal essays have appeared in the Mail and Guardian, the Johannesburg Review of Books and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She has presented programs for the BBC and her work has been featured on CNN. Her short stories have appeared in major South African anthologies as well as in The American Scholar and Astra Magazine. Davids holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town and, as an A.W. Mellon Fellow, has been a visiting scholar/artist at the University of California Berkley and at New York University. Between 2009-2016 she lectured at Queen Mary University of London and while there, was a recipient of the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize . Between 2018 and 2022 she was an Associate Professorship in the University of Cape Town’s Department of English Literary Studies. In 2017 she was elected to the office of President of PEN South Africa an organisation that
defends freedom of expression and campaigns for writers at risk. Nadia hosts PEN SA’s literary-political podcast, The Empty Chair. Hold Still is her latest play.

Jay Pather is a choreographer, multi-media artist, curator, writer, and teacher. He is Professor at UCT where he directs the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA). He is curator for the Infecting the City Festival; the ICA Live Art Festival, the Afrovibes Festival (The Netherlands); Spier Light Art (Cape Town), co-curated the Africa 2020/21 Season (France); Body, Image Movement (Madrid), and has curated Live Art for Zeitz MOCAA and the Spielart Festival in Munich. For ICA, Pather has created structures for interdisciplinary collaboration in the form of Fellowships, a Post Graduate Programme in Live Art, public lecture programmes and interdisciplinary events on a range of subjects, comprising lectures, panel discussion, exhibitions and performance. His artistic work deploys site-specific, interdisciplinary and intercultural strategies to frame postcolonial imaginaries, decolonization and matters of social justice. Works include Qaphela Caesar, a deconstruction of Julius Caesar, at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in downtown Johannesburg rite, a re-imagining of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, choreography for the Firebird and Nadia Davids’ What Remains for which he won a Fleur du Cap award for Best Direction. Recent publications include articles in New Territories: Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa edited my Marc Meaufort; Changing Metropolis ll edited by Marie Polli; Rogue Urbanism edited by Edgar Pieterse and Abdul Malik Simone; Performing Cities edited by Nicholas Whybrow, Where Strangers Meet; Routledge Companion to Art in the Public Realm, a book, Transgressions, Live Art in South Africa and for the Theater Journal. Recent addresses include for Festival of the Future City in Bristol, Inventur in Dusseldorf, for Independent Curators International in New York City, New Orleans and Accra, Sommerakademie in Venice, for University of Bergen’s International Curator’s Forum in Nairobi, International Conference on African Cultures in Harare and at the Haus der Kunst in Munich. Jay serves as a juror for the TURN Fonds (Berlin), and Board member of the National Arts Festival of South Africa. He was appointed Fellow at Queen Mary’s College, University of London
and made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He was recently awarded the Villa Albertine Residency to research and develop a new work, surface tension in New York City.

Andrew Buckland is a multi-award-winning theatre, film and television actor in classical and contemporary genres. Career highlights include performing as Hamlet for the SABC and being awarded three Fringe First Awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has won over 20 national and international theatre awards. Andrew was senior lecturer and later professor, at Rhodes University until his retirement in 2017 and is Associate Professor Emeritus. He performed in the film Catching Feelings, written and directed by Kagiso Lediga. Andrew continues to collaborate in the creation of new works such as Firefly for the Toyota SU Woordfees and The Fortune Cookie Theatre Company, with Sylvaine Strike, directed by Toni Morkel. He was nominated for a Fleur du Cap Best Actor award for Tobacco, and the Harmful Effects Thereof and won the Best Actor award for the role at Woordfees. He received the Best Actor Fleur du Cap and Naledi awards for Lara Foot’s The Inconvenience of Wings and in 2019 the Fleur du Cap award, for his performance in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame (directed by Sylvaine Strike). Most recently Andrew performed in the highly acclaimed Life & Times of Michael K.

Mwenya Kabwe is a Zambian-born performer, interdisciplinary theatre maker and senior lecturer at the Centre for Theatre Dance & Performance Studies (CTDPS) at the University of Cape Town, where she is the convenor of the 4th-year Acting Studio. Her notable performance roles include Alma in Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman, directed by Lara Bye, Camae in Katori Hall’s Mountaintop, directed by Warona Seane and Mrs Muller in John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, directed by James Cuningham. She directed the premier of Koleka Putuma’s No Easter Sunday for Queers and is a co-curator of the Unrehearsed Futures conversation
series. Amongst her recent projects is Priority Mail, a virtual process-based arts laboratory which centred around exchange and collaboration, co-curated with Lindiwe Matshikiza.

At the age of 13 Tailyn Ramsamy started his professional career as an anchor presenter on YoTV,. He spent six years on the show learning about live and prerecorded presenting and fostering an ever-growing passion for the arts in South Africa. In 2017, he completed his Bachelor of the Arts with Honors in Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town, where he specialised in acting. Here he performed in various productions which include Francesco Nassimbeni’s All of it, Everything, Now, Together as well as Steven Berkoff’s Agamemnon and Michel-Marc Bourchard’s Lilies, directed by Geoffrey Hyland. Tailyn starred in the award-winning Out of Bounds, directed by Crizelle Anthony, as well as in the Naledi and Fleur du Cap winning shows Macbeth and Shakespeare’s R&J, Bhai’s Café (on Showmax) and in the 2022 SAFTA award-winning series, The Kingdom, on Netflix. His most recent work has been playing Horatio & Polonius in Fred Abrahamse’s Hamlet in Denmark at Hamlets Castle (Kronborg) in Elsinore.

Lyle October is an actor and BA (Honours) graduate in Theatre and Performance from the University of Cape Town. He has performed in several productions with notable roles such as Osmo in Waiting (2016), Mingus in Sophiatown (2017), Anwaar in Kinnes (2019) and Sherwin in Vloeibare Moed (2022). He’s most recent performance at The Baxter was as Gesinde in Women of Owu in 2022.

Patrick Curtis is a multi-award-winning lighting and stage designer with a career in the theatre that spans nearly four decades. After starting at the Market Theatre and a period at CAPAB, his most significant years have been spent at the Baxter Theatre, where many of his designs were nominated for awards. He won Fleur du Cap awards for Vanya/Oom Wanja, Betrayal and Fishers of Hope. Most recent production designs include The Inconvenience of Wings, Endgame, The
Goat, Aunty Merle the Musical, Aunty Merle, it’s a Girl, Kamphoer and David Kramer’s Danger in the Dark. In 2012 alone, Patrick was nominated for three separate Fleur Du Cap awards in set design for Did We Dance: The Sinking of the Mendi, Doodsnikke, and Mies Julie as well as for lighting design for Did We Dance: The Sinking of the Mendi. He has also toured extensively to renowned theatres around the world with Baxter touring productions as a designer and in
his role as Baxter Theatre Production Manager. He also designed Scrooge, Missing… , Fishers of Hope (for which he received a Naledi Award), Blue Orange, Born in the RSA, Karoo Moose, Scenes from an Execution and, most recently, Sara Baartman, The Opera.

Neo Muyanga is a composer and sound artist. His work traverses the genres of New Opera, Electronica and African Song. His recent productions include the choral installation, a Mass of Cyborgs (CARA, New York City, 2022); the opera, How Anansi Freed the Stories of the World (Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Amsterdam, 2021); the choral installation, A Maze in Grace (Bienal de Arte de São Paolo / Liverpool Art Biennial, 2020-21); and the opera, Heart of Redness (Magnet Theatre / Cape Town Opera, 2015). He has released 10 recorded albums to date; is an alumnus of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD; has published research articles on musicking and vocal practices centering Africa and the Global South; and tours widely as a solo performer, bandleader and choral composer and conductor.

Franklin (Franky) Steyn began his career at Artscape, as a follow spotter for CATS followed by numerous international and national productions. He quickly mastered the art of follow spotting and was appointed to a permanent position as a lighting operator. It was here where his career took a new path into lighting design. After designing the lighting for numerous productions for Artscape, as well as for Jazzart over 11 years. In 2018, he joined The Baxter as senior lighting
and AV technician. At The Baxter, he has lit productions such as Four Fathers: Bananas for the Baboons, Hostel Lights, Back to Ashes, Imbilini, My friend!, Once on this island (Northlink College), Hairspray, Cats , Barnum and Once on this island, Once on this island (Wela Kapella Productions) and the 2019 Best of Zabalaza season.

Wilhelm Disbergen is a prolific theatre designer. After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand, he moved to London, where he worked in major design studios and at The National Theatre. A highlight of his stay in London was to be the associate designer for Metropolis Kabarett (directed by Henry Goodman) at The National Theatre. He regularly works in all major theatres in South Africa and is a multiple winner at the annual Naledi Theatre Awards. In 2018, he added a Fleur du Cap award for lighting design. For theatre, at the State Theatre, his collaboration with artistic director Aubrey Sekhabi started
with Silent Voice, subsequently seen on a national tour, at the World Festival of Black Arts, in Dakar, Senegal, and the Edinburgh Festival. This was followed by Sekhabi’s three seminal freedom plays – Mantolo: The Tenth Step, Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu, and The Rivonia Trial. Subsequently he designed Sekhabi’sHungry (a co-production with the SchauSpielHaus Hamburg), the epoch making Marikana– The Musical, and Freedom: The Musical. For dance, he has lit full seasons for Cape Town City Ballet, and production designed for Joburg Ballet, Moving Into Dance, Tshwane Dance Theatre, and Tribhangi Dance Theatre. Highlights include three full-length works for celebrated French choreographer Redha Benteifour – Redha’s Giselle, CrashDance, and Whispers of my Soul, and his collaborations with Jessica Nupen. He lit her Rebellion & Johannesburg at the Festival Oriente Occidente in Rovereto, Italy, and production designed her Don’t Trust the Border, TheNose (a film/live performance hybrid), and GEMeinsam,all for Kampnagel, Hamburg. For opera, he designed Cosi fan tutte, Cula Mzansi (three new South African operas), Don Giovanni, and L’elisir d’amore. At the National Arts Festival, he designed new works for three Standard Bank Young Artists – Moffie for Bailey Snyman, Sabela for Sonya Radebe, and Purgatory for Kristi-Leigh Grese. At the 2018 festival, he designed Black Privilege for featured artist
Mamela Nyamza. He teamed up again with Snyman for Gas Lands, and with Nyamza for Pest Control and Grounded.

Angela Nemov is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary designer and collaborator. She has worked in the creative industries for 17 years and her experience spans set and costume design, art direction, styling, event and experiential design, live decor, interior design, space and environment design, brand design and concept development. Angela has her MA in Theatre-Making from UCT (2005), is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher (2017) and runs a vintage shop called Waiting for George in Seapoint (est. 2020).

  • Venue: Graeme College
  • City: Makhanda
  • Location: Graeme College, Templeton Dr, Grahamstown, Makhanda, 6140
  • Ticket Price: R85.00
  • Programme Type: CURATED PROGRAMME
  • Genre: Theatre
  • Duration: 80 mins
  • Ages: ALL AGES
June 30, 2023   20:30 - 21:50

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July 01, 2023   14:00 - 15:20

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July 01, 2023   18:00 - 19:20
July 02, 2023   11:00 - 12:20