The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts’ 2014 Great Texts / Big Quesions public lecture series launches with a lecture by UK-based scholar and artist Nadia Davids on Wednesday 16 April at Hiddingh Hall.

Titled, Writing and Performing Cape Town, Davids’ lecture will offer a series of reflections around writing and performing contemporary and historical Cape Town. It will draw on a range of texts, both literary and theatrical, to stage questions around place, belonging, memory, ownership, home and the politics of nostalgia. The lecture will also contain a reading of extracts of her debut novel, An Imperfect Blessing.

Nadia Davids’ plays, At Her Feet (a one-woman show addressing Cape Muslim women’s identities post 9/11) and Cissie (a work exploring feminist biography, the historiography of District Six, and archival storytelling through the theatrical imagining of anti-apartheid activist Cissie Gool’s life) have garnered various theatre awards and been staged internationally. The plays are studied at a range of institutions, including the University of Cape Town, Stanford University, New York University, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Warwick and York University, and are understood as being both theatrically innovative and opening up unexpected spaces in which the lives of South African, specifically Muslim Capetonian, women assume the central focus.

Davids holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town and, as an A.W. Mellon Fellow, has been a visiting scholar/artist at the University of California, Berkley and at New York University’s Performance Studies Department. She participated in the New York Women’s Project Theater Playwrights Lab for 2008-2010, and was writer in residence at the Ledig House in 2012. Her articles have appeared in The Drama Review, The Brooklyn RailMail and Guardian, South African Theatre Journal and Taylor and Francis’ Social Dynamics Journal. She is currently a fulltime lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and is one of the 2013 recipients of the Philip Leverhulme Prize for her research.

Davids’ most recent creative project, a screenplay adaptation of her short story, The Visit, was awarded Best South African Film Project at the 2012 Durban International Film Festival and is currently in development. An Imperfect Blessing (published by Umuzi Random House in April 2014) is her debut novel.

This lecture will take place on Wednesday 16 April at 17:30 at Hiddingh Hall, University of Cape Town (UCT) Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town; and is free. Refreshments will be served from 17:00; no booking is necessary. For more information, contact the GIPCA office on 021 480 7156 or

Nadia Davids audio recording available for download.

Venue: Hiddingh Hall

Address: Google Map UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa