Ubu and the Truth Commission

Puppet Theatre

With its dark and sardonic wit, spectacular and disturbing animation and its poignant and finely detailed puppetry, this is the quintessential collaboration between William Kentridge and Handspring Puppet Company. 

Ubu and the Truth Commission combines puppetry, performance by live actors, music, animation and documentary footage. The performance draws on both the historical archive of the hearings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (begun in 1996) and on the dramatic figure of Ubu Roi, a licentious buffoon created by the youthful Alfred Jarry. In this production Pa Ubu represents the various instruments of Apartheid violence (policemen, assassins, spies and politicians) for whom torture, murder, sex and food are all elements of a single gross appetite.

The dramatic action is structured around a metaphorical tale of marital betrayal. Ma’s tragi-comic misinterpretation of Pa’s nocturnal absences affords us glimpses into the devastating complexities of Apartheid. Handspring’s puppets provide poignant testimonies that once formed part of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission hearings.

Direction and animation are by William Kentridge; the cast include original actors Busi Zokufa and Dawid Minnaar as Ma and Pa Ubu.


No results


  • 2015-11-24 00:00:00 2015-12-12 00:00:00 - Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris - France
  • 2015-11-19 00:00:00 2015-11-20 00:00:00 - Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Budapest - Hungary
  • 2015-10-15 00:00:00 2015-11-07 00:00:00 - Print Room at the Coronet, London - UK
  • 2015-10-11 00:00:00 - Teatre Municipal de Girona, Temporada Alta, Gerona - Spain
  • 2015-05-01 00:00:00 2015-05-03 00:00:00 - Zellerbach Playhouse, Cal Performances, Berkeley - Etats-Unis
  • 2015-04-15 00:00:00 2015-04-19 00:00:00 - Berkeley Street Theatre, Canadian Stage, Toronto - Canada
  • 2015-02-24 00:00:00 2015-02-28 00:00:00 - Heath Ledger Theatre, Perth Festival, Perth - Australie
  • 2014-12-17 00:00:00 2014-12-21 00:00:00 - Onassis Cultural Center, Athens - Greece
  • 2014-12-11 00:00:00 2014-12-13 00:00:00 - BOZAR, Brussels - Belgium
  • 2014-11-20 00:00:00 2014-11-22 00:00:00 - RomaEuropa / Teatro della Pergola, Florence - Italy
  • 2014-08-28 00:00:00 2014-08-30 00:00:00 - Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh - UK
  • 2014-08-15 00:00:00 2014-08-17 00:00:00 - Taipei Arts Festival, Taipei - Taiwan
  • 2014-04-24 00:00:00 2014-04-27 00:00:00 - Festival de Teatro de Caracas 2014 (TBC), Caracas - Vénézuela
  • 2014-04-16 00:00:00 2014-04-19 00:00:00 - XIV Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogota, Bogota - Columbia
  • 2014-03-15 00:00:00 2014-03-16 00:00:00 - MIT#SP Mostra International de Teatro de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo - Brazil


Director: William Kentridge
Associate Director: Janni Younge
Writer: Jane Taylor
Puppet Designer: Adrian Kohler
Assitant Puppet Maker: Tau Qwelane
Animation: William Kentridge
Assistant Animators: Tau Qwelane, Suzie Gable
Set Design: Adrian Kohler, William Kentridge
Costume Design: Adrian Kohler
Costume Makers: Phyllis Midlane, Sue Steele
Lighting Design: Wesley France
Sound Design: Wilbert Schubel
Music: Warrick Sony and Brendan Jury
Choreography: Robyn Orlin
Animation Editor: Catherine Meyburgh
TRC Research: Antjie Krog
Film and Video Research: Gail Berhmann

Pa Ubu: Dawid Minnaar
Ma Ubu: Busi Zokufa
Puppeteers: Gabriel Marchand, Mandiseli Maseti and Mongi Mthombeni

Stage Manager: Bruce Koch
Sound Technician: Simon Mahoney
Tour Manager: Wesley France

Production: Handspring Puppet Company
Associate producer: Quaternaire
Co-Production: Edinburgh International Festival (United Kingdom), The Taipei Arts Festival and Taipei Culture Foundation (Taiwan), Festival de Marseille _ danse et arts multiples (France), Onassis Cultural Centre (Greece), Cal Performances Berkeley (USA), BOZAR Brussels (Belgium). Supported by National Arts Festival, South Africa.