Professor Mark Fleishman

Professor. BA Performer's Diploma in Speech and Drama, MA, PhD Cape Town


Writer, director and academic, Mark Fleishman is Professor at the Centre for Theatre Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS) at the University of Cape Town and Co-Artistic Director of Magnet Theatre. He is an award-winning director and has directed most of the nearly 40 Magnet Theatre productions since The Show’s not Over ‘Til the Fat Lady sings in 1991. He also functions as a writer, not only of theatre texts but has published many academic articles, mainly on South African theatre and is an internationally respected theatre academic.

Postgraduate Convener, Theatre Making Co-ordinator. Co-artistic director of Magnet Theatre Teaches across a range of theoretical and practical courses with a specific focus on theatre-making and dramaturgy. Research areas include contemporary South African theatre, translation and performance, interactive dramaturgy, and site-specific community-based performance.


Although I have contributed articles to journals and written chapters for books, the main thrust of my research work is in the area of performance practice. It is in rehearsal rooms and workshop spaces with performers that my research is located. The outcome of this research takes the form of productions or workshop projects and might be documented to a lesser or greater extent in writing or through the use of other media such as video or DVD or CD-ROM. All of this work has been conducted through Magnet Theatre, which is recognized as quasi-research units by the CTDPS at the University of Cape Town.


2015-2016 I TURNED AWAY AND SHE WAS GONE (Jennie Reznek) (Magnet Theatre) Dramaturg, Director and Lighting Designer, Magnet Theatre, Cape Town; Hilton Festival, KZN; Market Theatre, Johannesburg; Frascati Theatre, Amsterdam

2015 HEART OF REDNESS (Zakes Mda) (Magnet Theatre/Cape Town Opera) Dramaturg, Director and Lighting Designer, Fugard Theatre, Cape Town

2015 IN THE CITY OF PARADISE (revised version) (Magnet Theatre), Dramaturg and Director, Magnet Theatre, Cape Town

2012-2013 VOICES MADE NIGHT (revised version) (Magnet Theatre) Adapted and Directed, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown; Steve Biko Centre, Kingwilliamstown; Baxter Theatre, Cape Town; Edinburgh Fringe Festival, UK

2011-2012 KRAGBOX (Magnet Theatre) Directed, Magnet Theatre, Cape Town; Artscape Arena, Cape Town; Aardklop Festival,


2012 AUTOPSY (revised version) (Magnet Theatre) – Devised and Directed, Magnet Theatre, Cape Town

2011 THE CHILDREN AND THE BEES (Magnet Theatre) – Wrote and Directed,Artscape Theatre, Cape Town

2010 DIE VREEMDELING (Magnet Theatre) – Devised and Directed,Community Performances in Springbok, Okiep, Leliefontein, Garies, Clanwilliam, Citrusdal, Lamberts Bay, Vredendal; Aardklop Festival, Potchefstroom; Magnet Theatre, Cape Town; Woordfees, Stellenbosch; KKNK Festival, Oudtshoorn.

2010 AUTOPSY (Magnet Theatre) – Devised and Directed, Aardklop Festival, Potchefstroom

2006-2014 EVERY YEAR, EVERY DAY, I AM WALKING (Magnet Theatre) Dramaturge and Director, African Festival for Children and Young People, Yaounde, Cameroon; Grahamstown Festival: Main Programme; Baxter Theatre, Cape Town; London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), UK; Market Theatre, Johannesburg; French Cultural Centres in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Sudan, Malawi, Swaziland, Mozambique; Proyecto Festival, Buenos Aires; KKNK Festival, Oudtshoorn; Grahamstown Festival: Fringe; Aardklop Festival, Potchefstroom; Juice Festival for Young Audiences, Newcastle,UK; International Theatre Festival of Kerala, India; IDEA World Congress, Belem, Brazil; Teatro Pumbos Urbanos, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Oval House Theatre, London; Baxter Concert Hall, Cape Town; ASSITEJ World Congress, Malmoe, Sweden; Schone Aussicht Festival, Stuttgart, Germany; International Festival, Brasilia, Brazil; Kinomono Festival, Okinawa, Japan; University of Massachusetts, Ameherst, USA; Ere de Jeu Festival, Paris, France; Yakumo International Festival, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan.

2007 VOICES MADE NIGHT (revised version) (Magnet Theatre/Little Theatre), Arena, UCT

2007 CARGO (Magnet Theatre/Jazzart Dance Theatre), Spier Amphitheatre, Stellenbosch; Grahamstown Festival: Main Programme; Baxter Theatre, Cape Town; Artscape Theatre, Cape Town

2002/3/5/6 ONNEST’BO (Magnet Theatre Educational Trust), Amphitheatre, SA Museum, Cape Town; High Schools in Western Cape Province; Cape Town, Festival; Grahamstown Festival: Main Programme; National Schools Festival, Grahamstown; Homecoming Centre – D6 Museum, Cape Town; Okiep, Nababiep and Steinkopf, Northern Cape, Le Sechoir Festival, Reunion; Little Theatre, Cape Town.

2004/5 RAIN IN A DEAD MAN’S FOOTPRINTS (Magnet Theatre\Jazzart Dance Theatre)

Oude Libertas, Stellenbosch; Grahamstown Festival: Main Programme; Baxter Theatre, Cape Town; FNB Dance Umbrella, Wits Theatre, Johannesburg; Mogale City, Muldersdrift; Okiep, Northern Cape.

2004 THE FIRE RAISERS (Max Frisch) (Magnet Theatre\Theatre Spirale), Baxter Theatre, Cape Town; Theatre de la Parfumerie, Geneva; Schlachthaus, Bern; Temple Allemand, La Chaux de Fond

2002 53 DEGREES (Magnet Theatre), Power Station, Grahamstown; Cape Town Festival, Intimate: UCT.

2002 COLD WATERS/THIRSTY SOULS (Magnet Theatre\Jazzart Dance Theatre), Nico Theatre, Cape Town

2000/2001 VOICES MADE NIGHT (Magnet Theatre), Arena, UCT; Teatro Avenida, Maputo; Nico Theatre, Cape Town

1999/2000 VLAM 2 (Magnet Theatre\Jazzart Dance Theatre), Nico Arena, Cape Town

1999/2000 VLAM 1 (SWAPCO), District Six, Cape Town, PUMP (Magnet Theatre Educational Trust), Performed in streets, parks, beaches, schools and community centres around the Western Cape

1998 IN THE CITY OF PARADISE, Hiddingh Hall, UCT

1997 “I DO” X 22 (Magnet Theatre), Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, Stellenbosch; Western Cape Schools Festival; Grahamstown Festival, Main Programme; National Schools Festival; Nico Arena, Cape Town; Barney Simon Theatre at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg

1997 FUENTA OVEJUNA (Lope de Vega), Hiddingh Hall, UCT

1996/7 SOE LOEP ONS ... NOU NOG! (Magnet Theatre\Jazzart Dance Theatre), Grahamstown Festival Fringe; Jazzart Studio, Cape Town; Klein Karoo Kunstefees, Oudtshoorn

1996 DESIRE (David Lan), Little Theatre, UCT

1994/5/6 MEDEA (Magnet Theatre\Jazzart Dance Theatre), Nico Arena, Cape Town; National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown: Main programme; Market Theatre, Johannesburg

1995 THE SUN, THE MOON & THE KNIFE (Magnet Theatre\Jazzart Dance Theatre), Nico Arena, Cape Town; Joseph Stone Auditorium, Athlone

1995 SUNJATA, UCT Arena; UK National Student Drama Festival, Scarborough, UK; Grahamstown Festival Fringe; Agfa Amphitheatre, Waterfront Cape Town; UCT Little Theatre

1994 THE VISIT (Friedrich Durrenmatt), Nico Arena, Cape Town

1994 MOBY DICK, The Laager at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg

1991/2/3 THE SHOW'S NOT OVER 'TIL THE FAT LADY SINGS, UCT Hiddingh Hall; Market Theatre, Johannesburg; Dock Road Theatre, Cape Town; Grahamstown Festival Fringe; Hilton College Theatre, Pietermaritzburg; Brighton Festival; Glasgow Mayfest; Green Room, Manchester; Glastenbury International Festival; Edinburgh Festival Fringe; Melkweg, Amsterdam; BAC, London; Old Bull Arts Centre, London; Hong Kong Fringe Festival; National Theatre of Namibia, Windhoek; Sodra Teatern, Stockholm.

1991 WOZA ALBERT, UCT Arena; Grahamstown Festival Fringe


Academic and related articles



2015 Fleishman, M. (ed). Performing Migrancy and Mobility in Africa: Cape of Flows. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

2002 Skotnes, P., Fleishman, M. A Story is the Wind: Representing time and space in San narratives. Llarec: The Museum Workshop at UCT, Cape Town, 2002. ISBN 079922149-X

Journal Articles

2012 Fleishman, M. The difference of performance as research. Theatre Research International. Vol. 37 (1). pp. 28-37.

2011 Fleishman, M. Cargo: Dwelling in the archive of slavery in the Cape. In: Journal of Artistic Research. Vol 0. Available online at:

2011 Fleishman, M. Cargo: Staging Slavery at the Cape. Contemporary Theatre Review. Vol. 21 (1). pp. 8-19.

2009 Fleishman, M. Knowing Performance: Performance as Knowledge Paradigm for Africa. In South African Theatre Journal Vol. 23. pp. 116-136.

2007 Fleishman, M. and Davids, N. ‘Moving Theatre: An exploration of the place of theatre in the process of memorialising District Six through an examination of Magnet Theatre’s production Onnest’bo’. In South African Theatre Journal. Vol. 21. pp. 149-165.

2005 Fleishman, M. ‘”Stories like the wind”: Recontextualising /Xam narratives for contemporary audiences’. In South African Theatre Journal. Vol. 19: 2005. pp. 43-57.

1999 Fleishman, M. 'Unspeaking the Centre: emergent trends in South African Theatre in the 1990s'. Culturelink, Special Issue: Cultural Change and Development in South Africa. Institute for International Relations, Zagreb. pp. 59-84.

1997 Fleishman, M. 'Physical Images in the South African Theatre' (revised and extended version). South African Theatre Journal, Vol. 11, Nos. 1&2, April and September 1997. pp. 199-214.

1990 Fleishman, M. 'Workshop Theatre as Oppositional Form'. South African Theatre Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1, May 1990.pp. 88-118. (also included in the proceedings of the Bad Boll Conference on South African Theatre, December 1989)

Book Chapters

2017 Fleishman, M. Towards a Pedagogy of Performance as Research. In: Sruti Bala et al (eds.), International Performance Research: The Unconditional Discipline? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 125-37.

2016 Fleishman, M. Making Space for Ideas: The Knowledge Work of Magnet Theatre. In: Megan Lewis and Anton Krueger (eds.), Magnet Theatre: Three Decades of Making Space. Bristol and Chicago, Intellect, pp. 53-72.

2016 Fleishman, M. Applied Theatre and Participation in the ‘new’ South Africa: a possible politics. In: Jenny Hughes and Helen Nicolson (eds.), Critical Perspectives on Applied Theatre. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 193-211.

2015 Fleishman, M. ‘Lapsing into Democracy’: Magnet Theatre and the drama of ‘unspeakability’ in the new South Africa. In: Mary Luckhurst and Emilie Morin (eds.), Theatre & Human Rights after 1945: Things Unspeakable. Basingstoke, Palgrave, pp. 57-73.

2015 Fleishman, M. Dramaturgies of Displacement in the Magnet Theatre Migration Project. In: Mark Fleishman (ed.), Performing Migrancy and Mobility in Africa: Cape of Flows. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

2014 Fleishman, M and Pather, J. ‘Performing Cape Town: an epidemiological studyin three acts’. In: Nicolas Whybrow (ed), Performing Cities. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

2011 Fleishman, M. 'For a little road it is not. For it is a great road; it is long': performing heritage for development in the Cape. In: Performing Heritage: Research, practice and innovation in museum theatre and live interpretation. Manchester, Manchester University Press, pp. 234-248.

2003 Fleishman, M. ‘An Interview with Rolf Solberg’. South African Theatre in the melting pot: trends and developments at the turn of the millennium. Solberg, R. (ed.) ISEA, Grahamstown. pp. 55-69. ISBN 0-86810-402-7.

2001 Fleishman, M. 'Unspeaking the Centre: emergent trends in South African theatre in the 1990s'.Culture in the New South Africa: After Apartheid. Kriger, R and Zageye, A. (eds.). Kwela; SA History Online, Cape Town and Maroelana, 2001. pp. 91-115. ISBN 0795701349.

2000 Fleishman, M. ‘Stagings: An interview with Ashraf Jamal’. Senses of Culture: South African Cultural Studies. Michael, C. and Nuttall, S.(eds.). Oxford University Press, Cape Town, 2000. pp. 197-211. ISBN 0195718399.

1996 Fleishman, M. 'Physical Images in the South African Theatre'.. Theatre and Change in South Africa. Davis, G. and Fuchs, A. (eds.). Harwood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam 1996. pp. 173-182. ISBN 3718656515.


2012 Fleishman, M. ‘Remembering in the Postcolony: refiguring the past with theatre’. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cape Town

2009 Fleishman, M et al. ‘Testing criteria for recognising practice as research in the Performing Arts in South Africa with particular reference to the case of Drama and Theatre’. Report to the National Research Foundation (Knowledge Fields Development Directorate).

1995 De Vos Malan, J., Fleishman, M., Mitchell, G., and Morris, G. 'Chapter 6: Performing Arts'.Western Cape Arts and Culture Task Group Final Report for the Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs, Mrs ME Olckers. August 1995. pp. 132-211.

1991 Fleishman, M. 'Workshop Theatre in South Africa in the 1980s: A Critical Examination with Specific Reference to Power, Orality and the Carnivalesque', unpublished MA thesis, University of Cape Town.

Theatre Scripts

2012 THE MAGNET MIGRATION PLAYS (Every Year, Every Day, I am Walking; Die Vreemdeling; Ingcwaba lendoda lise cankwe ndlela; Inxeba Lomphilisi- The wound of a healer). Cape Town: Junkets.


2011 Jahr für Jahr, Tag für Tag, kein Bleiben (Translation into German of Every Year, Everyday, I am Walking by Winni Victor). In: Spielplatz 24, Thomas Maagh (ed.). Frankfurt am Main: Verlag de Autoren, pp. 139-180.


2010 DIE VREEMDELING In collaboration with Frances Marek

2006 EVERY YEAR, EVERY DAY, I AM WALKING In collaboration with Jennie Reznek and Faniswa Yisa

2002 53 DEGREES In collaboration with Jennie Reznek

2000 VOICES MADE NIGHT Adapted from stories by Mia Couto

1998 IN THE CITY OF PARADISE In collaboration with students at the University of Cape Town

1997“I DO” X 22 In collaboration with Jennie Reznek and Mark Hoeben

1996 SOE LOEP ONS ... NOU NOG! In collaboration with Dawn Langdown

1995 THE SUN, THE MOON & THE KNIFE Based on the anthology of poems RETURN OF THE MOON by Stephen Watson

1995 SUNJATA Scripted from versions of the oral tradition

1994 MEDEA Adapted from Euripides, Seneca and Appolonius of Rhodes

1994 MOBY DICK Adapted for the theatre from the novel by Herman Melville

1991 THE SHOW'S NOT OVER 'TIL THE FAT LADY SINGS In collaboration with Jennie Reznek

1988 CARNIVAL OF THE BEAR Created in workshop at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg

1987 KEEP MOVING MA-JACK with Clare Stopford

1986 THINA BANTU - WE PEOPLE Created in workshop at UCT

Selected Keynotes and Invited Lectures


2017 Fleishman, M. Beauty in a Time of Ordinary Crisis, Keynote address, Afrovibes Festival, Amsterdam

2016 Fleishman, M. ‘Peeling the Wound’: Dramaturgies of haunting on the neo-apartheid stage. Keynote address, Re-moving Apartheid conference, Ghent

2016 Fleishman, M. The Body in/and the Archive: A Dramaturgical Approach to Remembering from the Postcolony. Keynote address SIBMAS conference, Copenhagen.

2014 Fleishman, M. A Little Intra-planetary gazing from somewhere underneath: Theatre – Spivak – Stratification in the age of the postcolony. Keynote address IFTR World Congress, University of Warwick, UK.

2013 Fleishman, M. ‘Lapsing into Democracy’: The State of Theatre in the Transitional State. Keynote address New Directions in South African Theatre Symposium. University of Toulouse, France.

2011 Fleishman, M. ‘Lapsing into Democracy’: The State of Theatre in the Transitional State. Keynote address Theatre and Human Rights conference. York University, UK.

2010 Fleishman, M. ‘Performance and Transformation’. Keynote Roundtable. IDEA World Congress. Belem, Brazil.

2009 Fleishman, M. Dramaturgy as Research Method. Keynote address “On Making”: colloquium on practice led research. University of Johannesburg.

2008 Fleishman, M. Keynote address ‘Performing History/ Staging the Archive’. Performing Heritage Conference, University of Manchester

Invited seminars and lectures:

2016 Fleishman, M. Making Space for Ideas: The knowledge work of Magnet Theatre. Public Lecture, University of Copenhagen.

2016 Fleishman, M. ‘Peeling the Wound’: Dramaturgies of haunting on the neo-apartheid stage. Seminar, Freie Universitat, Berlin.

2016 Fleishman, M. City on the Move: Performance and Migration in Cape Town, South Africa, University of California Berkeley and Stanford University.

2015 Fleishman, M. Dramaturgy in the Postcolony: Reflections from South Africa. Public Lecture, University of Amsterdam.

2010 Fleishman, M. A Dramaturgy of Displacement. Seminar, University of Warwick.

2008 Fleishman, M. Remembering in the Postcolony. Seminar, University of Warwick.

2006 Fleishman, M. The Clanwilliam Arts Project: Arts development and heritage reclamation in the Western Cape 2001-2006. Colonialism Seminar, University of Bristol, UK.

Performance as Research Master Classes for PG students and young researchers:

2012 Fleishman, M. The Difference of Performance as Research. Queens University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin; Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London; Stockholm Theatre Academy.

2011 Fleishman, M. Performance as Research Paradigm. Indian Society of Theatre Research. Postgraduate Conference. Central University of Hyderabad, India. (Keynote and Workshop).

2008 Postgraduate Conference, Central School of Speech and Drama, London (Keynote)

Current Research

I am currently engaged in a multi-year (2016 – 2018), collaborative research project on Cultural Translation and Performance funded by the National Research Foundation of South Africa together with colleagues from Amsterdam and India.

Community-based Participatory Action Research Projects

Fleishman, M. and Skotnes, P. The Clanwilliam Arts Project. Clanwilliam, Western Cape. (Ongoing)

The Clanwilliam Arts Project has been run for the past eleven years from the Living Landscapes Project field-station in Clanwilliam. It re-enacts the heritage of San mythology, collected by linguists Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek over 130 years ago, by introducing the ideas they embodied into the Clanwilliam community through art and performance. It gives learners in an extremely deprived community the opportunity to see beyond their everyday lives, and to be directly involved in an aesthetic process.

(Recipient of Alan Pifer research award in 2007)

Fleishman, M. Reznek, J. Mbothwe, M. Community Groups Intervention and Magnet Theatre Training Programme. Khayelitsha and Cape Town. (Ongoing)

The Community Groups Intervention has been working with eight drama groups in Khayelitsha since 2002. It explores the ways in which community drama operates within the township context and supports the endeavours of unemployed youth to make a difference in their community. The Training Programme provides a full-time, two year training to 10 young people from Cape Town communities who cannot access the university. It also operates as a conduit between the communities and the drama department. Over the past five years we have managed to bring 9 students into the UCT drama department through this programme.

Fleishman, M. and Rudakoff, J. Common Plants. Canada/South Africa. 2001/2 (Completed)

This project was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It used the internet and processes of dramaturgy to enagage with youth in the townships and suburbs of Cape Town; the community of Clanwilliam; in Iqaluit, Arctic Canada; and in immigrant communities in Toronto around the concept of “Home”. It also explored a particular pedagogical method developed by Prof. Judith Rudakoff at York University, Toronto.