Nelson Mandela’s legacy: Theater that can inspire social change

Playwright/director/McCarter Theatre Artistic Director Emily Mann in the L.A. Times, 12/5/13
Many people know that Nelson Mandela’s life inspired novels, poems, plays and films, but few people know how powerful his effect on the theater was and how powerful the theater’s effect was on him. The theater served as a mirror to Mandela, each side influencing and reflecting the other, placing them both in time. At the height of the apartheid era, the Market Theater in Johannesburg and the Space Theatre in Cape Town, both defiantly nonracial venues in a racially divided country, produced shattering plays about black life under the apartheid regime. These plays premiered in South Africa in the 1970s and ’80s and then flooded onto the world stages. The plays triggered global outrage at the South African government and support for the struggle for freedom Mandela represented. Read more…


  1. R. Michael Gros says:

    I was aware that theatre played an important part of his experience while in jail. I believe that he performed Greek tragedies and Shakespeare’s plays with other prisoners. I was not aware of his extensive connection with theatre beyond his prison time.

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