STRUCK SILENT Coming to Baxter Theatre Center

Shaun Oelf, Gunilla Hammar in STRUCK SILENT Photo credit Oscar O'Ryan
Shaun Oelf and Gunilla Hammar in STRUCK SILENT
Photo credit: Oscar O'Ryan

STRUCK SILENT, the second dynamic collaboration between the Baxter Theatre Centre and Sweden's Scenkonst Sörmland will be performed at the Baxter Flipside for one week only, following the success of I HIT THE GROUND RUNNING last year. This time the development of the production took place in Sweden where it had its world premiere yesterday at the brand new premises of the Performing Arts Sörmlandsleden in Munktellstaden, Eskilstuna. After the run at the Baxter Theatre Centre, STRUCK SILENT will tour to Stockholms Stadsteater, Stockholm (30 September and 1 October 2014); Strängnäs, Thomasaulan, Sweden (5 October 2014); Eskilstuna Teater, Sweden (7 and 8 October 2014); Nyköpings Teater, Sweden (10 October 2014); and Katrineholm, Tallåsaulan, Sweden (11 October 2014).

The global economy and its effect on the individual come under the spotlight in STRUCK SILENT, with a specific focus on senior citizens. Two focus groups came together in South Africa and in Sweden to talk about second lives, post-retirement, fulfilling unrealised dreams and the relationship between them and the systems which are in place. Out of this research, this contemporary dance piece was born.

The best of Swedish and South African talent come together in this unique creative collaboration. South African choreographer Ananda Fuchs once again teams with Swedish composer Tebogo Monnakgotla to create a new work of dance and theatre.

Thabisa Dinga, Gunilla Hammar, Shaun Oelf in STRUCK SILENT Photo credit Oscar O'Ryan
Thabisa Dinga, Gunilla Hammar
and Shaun Oelf in STRUCK SILENT
Photo credit: Oscar O'Ryan

Fuchs has decades of experience as a dancer, teacher, choreographer and mentor in western South Africa, but modern dance has always been close, if not closest, to her heart and is something to which she has always returned. She has spent 15 years of her professional career at Jazzart Dance Theatre, but has also worked at Siwela Sonke in Durban. With this latter company, Fuchs performed professionally on the national and international stage. She completed a dance residency at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts and has also taught movement at the Drama Department of the University of Cape Town.Since 1994, Fuchs has been working in modern dance, where she has fine-tuned her way of "attacking" dance and her own approach to developing what guides her own style today. The combination, also often the collisions, between the elegant and the tough in her chosen dance techniques are what characterises Fuchs as a choreographer. The results that emerge when combining improvisation, curiosity and exploration are what inspire her.

Monnakgotla was born and grew up in Uppsala where she started playing the cello at music school when she was ten. In 1994, she started to study cello and composition at the School of Music in Piteå. This was followed by studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, where she has just completed her diploma in composition. She was still studying at the Royal College of Music when she became internationally known for her work BAMBU I BJÖRKARS SPRÅK, which won the recommendation award in the European Broadcasting Union's Rostrum competition. She has also represented Sweden in the same competition with the work LE DORMEUR DU VAL, with a debut performance by Avanti! and Ida Falk-Winland in Stockholm New Music 2008. Monnakgotla has composed around forty works, the majority for orchestra and chamber ensemble. Her partners include the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, which first performed her works WHISHING and NAISSANCE DU JOUR II, the Radio Choir, which performed her work NAISSANCE DU JOUR for the first time at the Baltic Sea Festival in 2009, Loa Falkman who performed her orchestral piece LI PO UNDER DEN FLYGANDE SPEGELN and the ZilliacusPerssonRaitinen string trio which first performed her work FIVE PIECES FOR STRING TRIO, which was also nominated for the Swedish Music Publishers' Association's prize. The work was issued on CD by Phono Suecia in 2011. Monnakgotla is a member of the group Inversion, composers and conductors whose aim is to get contemporary music out to a wider audience.She is on the board of the Swedish Arts Council, the Folkoperan Foundation and is vice-chair of KVAST (the Association of Swedish Women Composers).

Gunilla Hammar and Shaun Oelf in STRUCK SILENT Photo credit Oscar O'Ryan
Gunilla Hammar and Shaun Oelf in STRUCK SILENT
Photo credit: Oscar O'Ryan

The dancers are Gunilla Hammar from Sweden, and Shaun Oelf and Thabisa Dinga from Cape Town, while the three musicians, Åsa Karlberg (flute), Elemér Lavotha (cello) and Jonny Axelsson (percussion), are all from Sweden. Grant van Ster is the assistant choreographer, costume and set design is by Wiklund Wiklund (Sweden), lighting design by the Baxter's head of lighting, Bennie Arendse, and Oscar O'Ryan is responsible for videography and photography.

Baxter CEO and artistic director, Lara Foot, and Scenkonst Sörmland director, Maria Weisby, met in Johannesburg in 1996 and realised straight away that they shared a common interest in and curiosity about how society works, how politics affects theatre and how theatre can transform society. "We believe it is serendipitous that now, more than a decade later, we find ourselves involved with and responsible for this incredibly dynamic project and collaboration," says Foot. "It has been funded as an exchange that would involve research groups. This means that it allows the art to come directly from civil society and in turn it is filtered through the artists."

Scenkonst Sörmland is a regional Swedish organisation for the performing arts which covers music, theatre, dance and film. Annually the organisation produces over 1 200 performances through collaborations with professional musical ensembles of all genres, independent theatres and dance groups, and municipal cultural authorities. This joint venture with the Baxter Theatre Centre is a three-year project with a view to create and develop a new and different work each year.

STRUCK SILENT previews at the Baxter Flipside on 9 September, opens on 10 September and runs until 13 September at 6.30pm nightly, with a matinee on Saturday, 13 September at 2pm. There is a schools performance at 11am on Thursday 11 September.Tickets cost R100 and booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted school or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or email or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or email her at

Related Articles

South Africa THEATER Stories | Shows

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...