This season, Profile Theatre’s featured playwright is Athol Fugard, an Afrikaner who has written about bigotry, racism, and identity for the last fifty years. His plays were some of the first in South Africa to criticize Apartheid, and more than one has been officially banned by the South African government.

Fugard is known not only for his subject matter, but the manner in which he stages his plays. In the 1960’s, he founded the Serpent Players, a group of black actors with day jobs as factory workers, clerks, and educators, and who performed under police surveillance in churches and community centers with improvised props from the location. Fugard’s Blood Knot, originally staged in 1961, was the first South African play to be performed by a multiracial cast.

Adriana Baer, the new executive director of Profile called Fugard “a playwright whose work has had a global influence on theater, writing, and social justice.” We couldn’t be more excited to see Fugard’s plays debut here in Portland.

In the meantime, here’s a scene from the Island, to give you a sense of the power of Fugard’s work: