Internationally renowned academic, Professor Rustom Bharucha, will present the final lecture in the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts’ 2014 Great Texts / Big Questions series. Titled The Aftermath: Reflections on Terror and Performancethis lecture is presented in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department.

Drawing on his recently published book Terror and Performance (Routledge 2014), Bharucha will probe the modalities and enigmas of one key question: “What happens when the performance ends?” The idea of ‘performance’ will be extended beyond theatre practice to encompass four primary sites of investigation: September 11, Islamophobia, Truth and Reconciliation, and Non-Violence.

Using a dialogic mode of inquiry, Bharucha will throw out questions relating to the relationship between ‘terror’ and ‘terrorism’, the ethical considerations involved in viewing the act of killing as ‘performance’, the efficacy of the Truth and Reconciliation process beyond the aporias of affect, and the ‘violence’ of non-violence. These issues will be contextualised within a spectrum of practices including suicide bombing, lip-sewing, blood-graffiti and peace activism.

“To what extent can theatre counter its complicities within a larger narrative of terror? Is non-violence viable in an age of terror? Can justice exist beyond – and against – the law?” These are some of the critical questions that Bharucha will raise in the lecture, attempting to provide a reflective framework on the terror of our times.

The date of the lecture, 2 October, also marks Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday – a significant day on which to reflect on terror in the larger context of non-violence.

Rustom Bharucha is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. A leading interlocutor in the fields of interculturalism, secularism and oral history, he has written a number of books including Theatre and the WorldThe Question of FaithIn the Name of the SecularThe Politics of Cultural PracticeRajasthan: An Oral HistoryAnother Asia: Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin and Terror and Performance.

In recent years, he has worked as a dramaturge for the Tangencya public art project in Durban, as Project Director for Arna-Jharna: The Desert Museum of Rajasthan and as Artistic Director of the Inter-Asia Ramayana Festival at the theater laboratory Adishakti in Pondicherry. In February 2015 he will be curating an international conference at the Jawaharlal Nehru University on Rethinking Labor and the Creative Economy: Global Performative Perspectives.

This lecture will take place on Thursday 2 October at 17:30 at the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Old Medical School Building, UCT Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town. The lecture is free and refreshments will be served from 17:00; no booking is necessary. For more information, contact the GIPCA office on 021 480 7156 or

Rustom Bharucha audio recording available for download.

Venue: Anatomy Lecture Theatre

Address: Google Map 31-37 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa