Life and Times of Michael K

Performance Theatre

The Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Theater der Welt, The Baxter Theatre and Handspring Puppet Company present J.M Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K, an exciting, creative and unique collaboration between Lara Foot (CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town) as writer/ director, and the internationally acclaimed and Toni award winning Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company. The actors and performers will be chosen from the very best of The Baxter Theatre Cape Town, South Africa and The Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus. Coproduced by Le Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg.

When his mother wants to return to die on the farm where she grew up, Michael K embarks on a journey through a country shattered by the confusions of civil war. However, she dies shortly after they set off – and Michael must continue in an effort to take her ashes home. "In a violent world, Michael K is a simple prophet who seeks strength in his humanity and his deep connection to the earth," says Lara Foot. 

The production combines puppetry, vivid cinematic visuals, extraordinary music by Kyle Shepherd and live actors. The puppet Michael K as well as the ensemble of actors who narrate directly to the audience; complement the story, enable the third person narrative perspective, and at the same time provide us with a privileged insight into the character’s inner thought- processes. The creative team’s development process involves writing the theatre production in tandem with creating and carving the puppets and workshops are currently on-going.

The creative team will use cinematic imagery and beautifully carved 3⁄4 life size puppets which will embrace the story and philosophy of Michael K with an aesthetic grace that reflects the writing of J.M Coetzee and the evocative Karoo landscape, the magical desert plains and 'bush' of South Africa.

Director Lara Foot says: “The world has never been this insanely polarised and violent; Michael K, who is much like a simple prophet, will not bow down to the inane and cruel domination of politics and power, and chooses rather to find strength in his own humanity and his profound connection to the earth. This is a hauntingly beautiful story.”

Life and Times of Michael K will premiere in 2021. 


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  • 2023-08-22 00:00:00 2023-08-26 00:00:00 - Edinburgh Fringe Festival , Edinburgh - UK
  • 2022-09-03 00:00:00 2022-09-04 00:00:00 - Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Düsseldorfer - Germany
  • 2022-05-19 00:00:00 2022-05-20 00:00:00 - Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, Luxembourg - Luxembourg
  • 2022-05-14 00:00:00 2022-05-15 00:00:00 - Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Dusseldorf - Germany
  • 2022-02-28 00:00:00 2022-03-19 00:00:00 - Baxter Theatre, Cape Town - South Africa
  • 2022-02-20 00:00:00 2022-02-20 00:00:00 - Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Dusseldorf - Germany
  • 2022-02-18 00:00:00 2022-02-18 00:00:00 - Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Dusseldorf - Germany
  • 2021-11-18 00:00:00 2021-11-19 00:00:00 - Theater im Pfalzbau, Ludwigshafen - Germany
  • 2021-11-13 00:00:00 2021-11-14 00:00:00 - Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Dusseldorf - Germany
  • 2021-11-12 00:00:00 2021-11-12 00:00:00 - Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Dusseldorf - Germany


Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Theater der Welt Düsseldorf 2021, Baxter Theatre Centre and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, present

JM Coetzee’s Life & Times of Mikael K

Adapted for the stage by Lara Foot, in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company


Written and directed by Lara Foot

Puppetry Direction: Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones

Puppetry Direction, Design and Creation: Adrian Kohler, Handspring Puppet Company

Composer: Kyle Shephard

Set Designer: Patrick Curtis

Dramaturge: Felicitas Zürcher

Costume Designer: Phyllis Midlane

Lighting Designer: Joshua Cutts

Sound Designer: Simon Kohler

Sound System Designer: David Claassen

Projection Designer and Editor: Yoav Dagan

Projection Designer: Kirsti Cumming

Director of Photography (film), photographer: Fiona McPherson

Director of Photography: Barrett De Kock


Actors: Sandra Prinsloo, Andrew Buckland, Faniswa Yisa, Carlo Daniels, Billy Langa, Nolufefe Ntshuntshe

Puppet Master: Craig Leo

Puppeteers: Roshina Ratnam, Marty Kintu, Markus Schabbing


Production Manager: Marisa Steenkamp

Stage Manager, Lighting and AV Operator: Puleng Mabuya

Administrative Producer (Baxter): Libie Nel

Assistant Stage Managers: Kenan Fortuin, Nosibusiso (Queen) Jacob

Sound Equipment: Eastern Acoustics

Lighting Technician on Duty: Christoff Snyman

Scenic Painting: Yolandi van Jaarsveldt      

Sound Operators: Lamont Williams, Jeanne Steenkamp

Sound Assistant : Melissa George

Mic Technician: Babalo Hambi

Camera Assistant: Rebecca Newton

Set Builders: Christopher Spogter, Wayne Jacobs

Followspot Operators: Abubakr Salaam, Shimaya Mgodleni

Live Streaming: Homebrew Films

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Stefan Schmidtke, Wilfried Schulz, Theater Der Welt, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Theater der Welt Düsseldorf 2021, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

Running Time: approximately 2hours 30 minutes, including interval.  Please ensure that all cellphones are switched off.