Bessie's Head

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Bessie's Head is a collaborative danceplay by Gary Gordon and Reza de Wet (1952-2012).

The original text

A documentary project, it dissects the events surrounding the birth of acclaimed writer Bessie Head, conceived by choreographer Gary Gordon, with original texts and lyrics by Reza de Wet.

Translations and adaptations

An adapted version of the original play, called Bessie's Head 2006, was prepared by Acty Tang [dramaturg], based on the previous production of Bessie's Head and subsequent discourse on the production by The First Physical Theatre Company researchers.

Performance history in South Africa

2000: Presented by First Physical Theatre Company in the Baxter Theatre in March 2000 again at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July, starring Helen Seaman and Juanita Finestone. Original music composed by Leonhard Praeg, lighting by Michael Carklin, designs by Roux Engelbrecht. This production went on tour to Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, East London.

2006: Performed as Bessie's Head 2006 by The First Physical Theatre Company at the Cape Town Festival in March; at the Maitsong Festival, Gabarone, in April and at the Eastern Cape Schools' Festival in May.


Baxter Theatre pamphlet, March/April 2000.

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Juanita Finestone-Praeg. 2018. "Drifting: Reminiscing. Remembering. Reinventing. Reza" (Draft manuscript, courtesy of the author.)

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