Baxter Theatre: Blow to the arts as stellar productions are postponed

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The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town announced that it would have to cancel two upcoming productions and close its doors for days after being hit by the double blow of Adjusted Level 2 COVID-19 regulations and coronavirus infections among staff.

The curtain call for both Life & Times of Michael K and Kiss of the Spider Woman was imminent, but now they will only hit the stage in January 2022, said Baxter CEO and artistic director, Lara Foot on Tuesday, 8 June.


Foot said the Baxter’s problems started when President Cyril Ramaphosa implemented Adjusted Level 2 restrictions, which meant there would be further restrictions on audience numbers.

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“This was a heavy loss for us as we had already sold more than 200 tickets per show and suddenly, overnight, our capacity was restricted from 250 seats to 100 seats in our main theatre, which has a capacity of 680,” said Foot in a statement.

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“We tried all means to save the situation, by adding a few extra shows and by lobbying to be permitted 180 seats using our balconies as separate spaces,” added Foot. “Sadly, we were told by the department of health that this was against the law.”

The shows were scheduled to go ahead despite the reduced capacity, the Baxter informed patrons who had already purchased tickets that they would only be allowed to permit 100 audience members.

The show was ready and technicals were completed on Friday, 4 June, which is when the death knell sounded – so to speak – Foot learned that one of the company members contracted COVID-19. By Sunday, another company member also tested positive.

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Life & Times of Michael K was expected to run from 7 to 16 June while Kiss of the Spider Woman was slated for 5 to 19 June.

“We had no choice but to close the theatre for several days, and now, to cancel the entire run for both Life & Times of Michael K and Kiss of the Spider Woman,” said Foot, as there had been contact between crew members.


The Baxter Theatre plans to run both shows at the end of January 2022 and Foot hopes that by then venues will be able to host audiences up to at least 50% of their capacity.

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Patrons who purchased tickets for shows will be allowed to “park” their tickets until show time next year and they will also be given preferential booking – the Baxter will do this automatically.

“I can say without doubt, that both shows are of the highest standard and we have given our all to make exceptional theatre,” said Foot. Protection Status

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