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PRESS: DROOMWERK is coming home to Cape Town

Pieter Odendaal


Droomwerk is coming home to Cape Town with performances at the Suidoosterfees and the Homecoming Centre.

Petrus dreams about his ancestors in a mental hospital. His ancestral grandmother, Diana van Madagascar, walks on the seabed back home. His grandfather Piet, an apartheid senator, relives his speeches on his deathbed. Can Petrus bring reconciliation to his family, or is he too sick to distinguish between reality and dream?

The poet Pieter Odendaal's play Droomwerk was awarded the ATKV Woordveertjie for Best New Drama Text and nominated for the Hertzog Prize for Drama. Herschelle Benjamin calls Droomwerk a must-see, “a moving family drama with tremendous emotional impact, a spiritual event.”

The acclaimed Cape Town director Kanya Viljoen is responsible for directing and design, with Lwanda Sindaphi as the associate director. The cast is equally impressive: Jill Levenberg from Suidooster and Ellen Pakkies-fame, the exciting young actor Ben Albertyn, the theater legend Gerben Kamper, Noluthando'Tyrish' Mili, and Johann Vermaak. Levenberg has received multiple nominations for her performance in Droomwerk, andwon the 2023 Woordtrofee for Best Supporting Actor at Woordfees. After various runs at festivals, Droomwerk is finally coming to Cape Town!

Droomwerk is based on Odendaal's exploration of his heritage as a white Afrikaans-speaking man with slave ancestry. The main characters are loosely based on the writer, his grandfather (an apartheid senator in the 1970s), and his ancestral grandmother, Diana of Madagascar, who was brought to the Cape as a slave in the late 17th century. The play examines the roots of inter-generational trauma and questions the hegemony of Western psychiatry over indigenous practices to address mental disorders. Saartjies Botha writes that Droomwerk constitutes “a writing towards healing, a rediscovery of heritage that transports you to the uncharted vulnerability of historical trauma.”

Droomwerk will show at Suidoosterfees (26-30 April – tickets on Webtickets), followed by a run at the Avalon Auditorium (Homecoming Centre) from 8-11 May (tickets at Quicket). Droomwerk is also available in publication from Protea Boekhuis.

Odendaal is a poet, playwright, translator, and editor. His debut collection, asof geen berge ooit hier gewoon het nie (Tafelberg), was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize in 2019. He was the executive director of InZync Poetry in Stellenbosch and recently obtained his PhD in creative writing from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. He currently teaches Creative Writing at NWU in Potchefstroom.


Tickets for the Suidoosterfees through Webtickets.


Tickets for the Homecoming Centre through Quicket.


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