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Ubu and the
Truth Commission

Handspring Puppet Company
28 - 30 August 2014

With its dark and sardonic wit, documentary footage, spectacular animation, poignant puppetry and superb actors, Ubu and the Truth Commission draws on both the historical archive of the hearings of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and on the dramatic figure of Ubu Roi, a licentious buffoon created by the playwright Alfred Jarry.

Ubu and the Truth Commission was the third in a trilogy of plays that brought William Kentridge and Handspring Puppet Company, who later created War Horse, to worldwide acclaim. Revived to mark the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, this metaphorical tale of marital betrayal affords glimpses into the devastating complexities of apartheid.

Poignant testimonies that once formed part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings are given by characters played by Handspring's puppets. With animation by director William Kentridge, the cast includes actors Busi Zokufa and Dawid Minnaar as Ma and Pa Ubu.

A co-production by the Edinburgh International Festival, The Taipei Arts Festival and Taipei Culture Foundation, Festival de Marseille _ danse et arts multiples, Onassis Cultural Centre, Cal Performances Berkeley and BOZAR, Brussels.

Please note this performance contains graphic images of violence that may not be suitable for children.

stunningly theatrical multimedia piece that drives home the atrocity known as apartheid...By turns chilling and hilarious, brutal and forgiving, the show casts a surreal light on the heart of darkness - and still manages to leave you with hope

The Washington Post

executed with consummate artistry

Los Angeles Times

Join the Facebook event for updates and conversation
  • Language: 
    Performed in English
  • Touch tour:
    Saturday 30 August 1.15pm
  • Running time: 
    1 hour and 30 minutes approximately
  • Audio described:
    Saturday 30 August 2.15pm
  • Captioned:
    Saturday 30 August 2.30pm

Supported by
Culture 2014 logo

City of Edinburgh Council logo

Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa logo

SA-UK seasons logo

20 years of Freedom logo


  • Audio described
  • Captioned performance
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    Handspring Puppet Company

    William Kentridge Director
    Janni Younge
    Associate Director
    Jane Taylor
    Adrian Kohler
    Puppet designer
    Wesley France
    Lighting designer

    Cast includes Busi Zokufa and Dawid Minnaar

    Photo: Ruphin Condyzer

    This event was part of a previous International Festival and is therefore unavailable to book.

    The 2017 International Festival programme will be released in the spring.


    Grand circle: £32 £25 £17 £10
    Stalls: £32 £25 £21 £10
    Stalls boxes: £25
    Upper circle: £25 £21 £17 £10

    Current discounts

    Under 18s: 50% off
    Students: 50% off
    Young Scot cardholders: 50% off
    Senior citizens: 50% off
    Unemployed people: 50% off
    Equity/MU cardholders: 50% off