The Baxter Theatre Centre opened on 1 August 1977 and was designed by Jack Barnett as honor to the late Dr. W Duncan Baxter’s bequest for the purpose of building and establishing a theatre. Dr. Baxter made a generous donation to the University of Cape Town in order to support the arts through the establishment of this theatre as it had always been his desire to “develop and cultivate arts in Cape Town and the adjacent districts”.
The Baxter Theatre has since been known to host an array of professional productions and entertainment in genres such as music, drama, opera, ballet and theatrical performances. It is at the heart of the Baxter to house and represent the best of South African performing arts and has played a significant role in South African arts and entertainment. It strives to present not only cutting edge and socially challenging works but also foster and develop an ongoing relationship with the local and university communities. The Baxter Theatre has created a vibrant and exciting environment that kept its’ doors open even at a time where racial segregation boomed and continued to thrive and reflect the beauty of different cultures at the height of the apartheid regime. The Baxter was the first theatre to stage its’ first ever interracial kiss in one of their earliest productions, Miss Julie in 1985, which still plays in theatres around the world as their version, Mies Julie.
Located at the foot of the University of Cape Town, the Baxter is home to a world-class theatre and concert hall, a studio stage, rehearsal rooms, offices, a restaurant and bars as well as a spacious grand foyer designed in exceptional modernity. The Baxter is known to be one of the most vibrant and multicultural hubs in entertainment in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.
Over the last four decades, the Baxter has continued to provide a platform for young, vibrant and talented UCT students and graduates pursuing the arts that have brought new and inspiring works in drama, dance and music.
The Baxter will celebrate its 40th Anniversary on August 1st 2017 as they continue to nurture and grow significant works and inspiring talent in the South African performing arts and entertainment sector and broaden the access to audiences in and around Cape Town, making it a true expression of the soul of this nation.