CEO and Artistic Director, Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town
Lara Foot is a multi-award-winning playwright, director and producer. She is the CEO and artistic director of the Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town; a former Rolex protégé to Sir Peter Hall in the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé programme as well as a Sundance Fellow. She is also executive producer of (amongst others), the hit productions Mies Julie and The Fall, which have both won international awards and received great acclaim. Lara completed her BA (Hons) degree at Wits University in 1989 and in 2007 attained her Master’s degree at the University of Cape Town. In 2005 she became the Resident Director and Dramaturge at the Baxter Theatre Centre - a post which she held until 2007. In January 2010 she became the first female to be appointed as CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter. With a passion for the development of new indigenous work, young writers and directors, she has put most of her energy into helping playwrights and theatre-makers realise their work, having nurtured several dozen new South African plays to their first staging. She has directed over 50 professional productions, 38 of which have been new South African plays. Since heading up the Baxter Theatre Centre she has, together with a dynamic team, transformed the theatre’s development programme - the Zabalaza Theatre Festival - to become recognised and respected as one of the most vital and important platforms of its kind in South Africa. As a former Rolex protégé, she hosted a unique cultural gathering at the Baxter with renowned Mentors William Kentridge, Wole Soyinka and Peter Sellars, alongside seven protégés. Lara worked at The Market Theatre under the mentorship of Barney Simon and in 1996 became Resident Director and from 1998 to 2000 she was the Associate Artistic Director. She wrote and co-directed (with Gerhard Marx) the interdisciplinary short film And There in the Dust, which won five international awards and two Golden Horn awards and was selected to be part of the Sundance Film Writer’s Lab in 2007 and the Sundance Film Director’s Lab in 2008. In 2016 she was the Featured Artist at the 43rd National Arts Festival, leading the charge on the Main programme which is made up of 80% of work written, directed, curated or headlined by women. This, two decades after she was selected as the Standard Young Artist for Drama. With a host of South African theatre accolades to her name, her own hard-hitting plays tackle social issues in South Africa and these have earned her great respect and recognition locally and internationally. Tshepang, Hear And Now, Reach, Karoo Moose, Solomon and Marion (all published by Oberon Books), Fishers of Hope and The Inconvenience of Wings are just a few of her plays which have won multiple awards and that have toured internationally with great success. Fishers of Hope scooped four awards at the Naledi Theatre Awards in Johannesburg, including the coveted Best Production of a Play accolade. Earlier this year her latest play, The Inconvenience of Wings, earned her the Best Director honour, along with the Best Actress (Jenifer Steyn) and Best Actor (Andrew Buckland) nods at the 2017 Fleur du Cap awards. She also clinched three awards (Best Director, Best Production of a Play and Best Actress (Chuma Sopotela), for her play Karoo Moose at the 2017 Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (the largest Afrikaans Festival in South Africa.