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Brett Bailey

Brett Bailey is a South African playwright, designer, director, installation artist, and the artistic director of the performance company THIRD WORLD BUNFIGHT.

His iconoclastic theatrical works, which interrogate the dynamics of the post-colonial world, include the musical dramas BIG DADA, IPI ZOMBI?, iMUMBO JUMBO, ORFEUS and SAMSON; a radical reworking of Verdi’s opera MACBETH; and the performance installations BLOOD DIAMONDS: TERMINAL, EXHIBIT A, EXHIBIT B, and SANCTUARY.

Many of his works have played across Europe, Australia and Africa, and in the USA, Latin America and Asia, and have won several awards, including a gold medal for design at the Prague Quadrennial (2007).

He has a BA in drama and English from the University of Cape Town, and a post graduate diploma in performance studies from Das Arts (now DAS Theatre), Amsterdam (2004).

He directed the opening show at the World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg (2009), and from 2006-2011 the opening shows at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. From 2008-2011 he was curator of South Africa’s only public arts festival, ‘Infecting the City’, in Cape Town. He was the chairperson of the Curatorial Committee of South Africa’s National Arts Festival from 2016-2020.

In 2014 he wrote the International Theatre Institute’s World Theatre Day message for UNESCO. He headed the jury of the Prague Quadrennial (2011); was a juror on the International Theatre Institute’s Music Theatre Now competition (2012/13), and the chairperson of the jury of the same competition in 2016/16; and a juror of the Tokyo Festival’s World Theatre Competition in 2019.

He has run extended workshop sessions on his methodology in Ireland, Italy, the USA and Athens, and in 2018 he curated a 2-month component of the MA programme at DAS Theatre, Amsterdam.

In 2019 he was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government.

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