Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act

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Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act is a play by Athol Fugard (1932-).

Often referred to simply as Statements.

The original text

A play about miscegenation under apartheid, telling of the tragic relationship between a “coloured" teacher and a white librarian and their arrest for who transgressing the immorality act. It was written in 1972 then performed at the The Space Theatre (Cape Town) to an invited audience on May 25 1972. After this audience had given feedback, the play was altered slightly and then played to a second invited audience on the 27th of May. The final text became the standard one.

Performed in this expanded and adapted version at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in what is claimed to be the "world premiere" in 22 January, the text was published in Statements: [Three Plays] in Oxford and New York by Oxford University Press, 1974.

Translations and adaptations


1972: Following the two private showings, the first version of the play officially opened at the The Space, Cape Town, to an invited audience on the 28th of May, the first play to run at the new venue. Directed by Athol Fugard with Yvonne Bryceland, Athol Fugard, Christopher Prophet and Percy Sieff. Lighting design by Mannie Manim, stage management by Steven Daitsh and photography by Brian Astbury.

1974: Produced in an expanded and adapted version at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in what is claimed to be the "world premiere" in 22 January. This production toured Europe and the USA for the next few years, playing to acclaim.

1979: A new production, directed by Barney Simon, with Wilson Dunster, Vivian Solomons and Wilma Stockenström, and presented by The Company, opened in June at the Market Theatre. Design consultant Michael Goldberg, lighting Mannie Manim and stage management Michael Maxwell and Sharda Naidoo.

1990-1991: Performed as part of the series Double Every Minute at the Stage Left Theatre, Chicago, directed by Shawna Flanigan.[1]

1997: Performed by CAPAB Drama in the Arena Theatre at the Nico Malan Theatre, as part of the 25th anniversary of the Space Theatre. Directed by Keith Grenville, with Peter Butler, Antoinette Kellerman and André Roothman. Designed by Michael Mitchell, lighting designed by Malcolm Hurrell.

2011-2012: Performed at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective, directed by Kim Kerfoot, with an Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary from Gipca, Baxter Theatre Centre and the Theatre Arts Admin Collective. The production later ran to capacity houses at the Fugard Theatre Studio, (courtesy of the Fugard Theatre’s founding producer Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre), The production featured Bo Petersen, Malefane Mosuhli and Jeroen Kranenburg, was described by Athol Fugard himself as the best production he had seen of his work directed by someone other than himself. The production was designed by Guy de Lancey.[2]

2014: Performed in London as part of South African Season at Jermyn Street Theatre during June and July. Directed by Cordelia Monsey, designed by Victoria Johnstone and lighting design by Michael Nabarro.

2018: Performed by the New Repertory Theatre at the Black Box Theater in the Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, 27 January to 3 March 3, directed by Jim Petosa.

2019: Produced by Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre in partnership with the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, directed by Greg Karvellas with Marlo Minnaar and Liezl de Kock. Opened at the KKNK on ** and in the Studio at The Fugard Theatre from 17 September to 26 October. The production received five Kanna Award nominations at the KKNK.

2021: Presented at the Orange Tree Theatre, London, by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd., 28 August – 2 October. Directed by Diane Page with Scarlett Brookes, Shaq Taylor and Richard Sutton.[3]


Brian Astbury 1979. The Space/Die Ruimte/Indawo. Cape Town: Moira and Azriel Fine.

Catherine M. Cole. 2018. Statements before and after Arrests. Performing at Law's Edge in Apartheid South Africa. In: : Law and Performance (edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, Martha and Merrill Umphrey). Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press: pp.122-155[4].

Prepublicity, Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg, South Africa, June 7, 1979: p.13

Stephen Gray. 1985. Desegregating the theatre In: Index to Censorship 4/85[5]

Various entries in the NELM catalogue re the 1972 production.

Photographs and other material held by NELM in various locations re the Market Theatre production, 1979.

Statements theatre programme, 1997.

Review by Astrid Stark, Sunday Independent, 5 February 2012.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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