Life and Times of Michael K Baxter

Image via: Baxter Theatre / Facebook

Life and Times of Michael K: World premiere to kick off at the Baxter

If you’re a fan of JM Coetzee and Lara Foot, then you’re in for a theatrical treat! The Life and Times of Michael K is set to premiere at the Baxter and we have all the details.

Life and Times of Michael K Baxter

Image via: Baxter Theatre / Facebook

Ladies and gents, the world premiere of Nobel Prize-winning author JM Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K, will be gracing the Baxter’s stage early next month. Adapted for the stage by Lara Foot, in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company, you know you are in for a spectacular performance. 

Get your popcorn ready, fans! The highly anticipated co-production between The Baxter, Theater der Welt Düsseldorf 2020, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, debuts from 7 to 19 June 2021, and brings together some of South Africa’s most revered, multi-award-winning artists.


Written and directed by Foot, the theatre said it is the largest and “most illustrious” undertaking by the theatre over the past decade and is the culmination of two years of planning. 

According to the Baxter Theatre, it marks the first time that she will be working with the Tony award-winning Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler from the hit production War Horse-fame. 

South African theatre legends Sandra Prinsloo and Andrew Buckland lead the impressive cast comprising Fansiwa Yisa, puppet master Craig Leo, Roshina Ratnam, Carlo Daniels, Marty Kintu, Billy Langa, Nolufefe Ntshuntshe, along with German puppeteer Markus Schabbing.

“The Life and Times of Michael K, is a multi-layered theatrical staging which combines puppetry, performance, film and evocative music, bringing to life Coetzee’s Booker Prize-winning novel,” the theatre said. 


The beautiful story follows Michael K, a simple man, who embarks on a journey through South Africa, ravaged by civil war, to return his mother to die on the farm, where she was born. 

“He finds strength in his own humanity, his profound connection to the earth and his unique path which, as it unfolds, reveals to him, his reason for living.”

Fellow South African author Nadine Gordimer said the Life and Times of Michael K was an “outstanding achievement”. The New York Times Book Review said it was “so purifying to the senses that one comes away feeling that one’s eye has been sharpened, one’s hearing vivified”.

Image via: Baxter Theatre / Facebook

The production was invited to debut at the Theater der Welt festival at the Düsseldorf Theatre in Germany in June last year, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown and travel restrictions, the festival was postponed to 2021. The organisers decided to open in South Africa at The Baxter with plans to transfer to the Theater der Welt festival when restrictions are lifted.

The creative team is made up of:

  • Handspring Puppet Company (puppet directors, design and makers);
  • Patrick Curtis (set design);
  • Kyle Shepherd (original music composition);
  • Joshua Cutts (lighting);
  • Fiona McPherson and Barrett de Kock (directors of photography and film);
  • Yoav Dagan (videography and editing);
  • Kirsti Cumming (projection design);
  • Phyllis Midlane (costumes); and
  • Simon Kohler (sound design).


Seating is limited and all performances will be limited to 250 capacity, with COVID-19 protocols in place as regulated at Adjusted Level 1 during the national state of disaster. 

The Life and Times of Michael K will run at the Baxter Theatre from 7 to 19 June at 19:00 every night, with Saturday matinees on 12 and 19 and Wednesday 16 June at 14:00.

Booking is through Webtickets on 086-111-0005, online at or at any Pick n Pay store. For discounted school or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities contact Leon van Zyl on 021-680-3972 or email or Carmen Kearns on 021-680-3993 or email her at