UCT has an active and diverse cultural life with an abundance of theatre, dance, music and fine art.
Baxter Theatre Centre
Built in 1977 with a bequest from the late Dr William Duncan Baxter, the Baxter Theatre Centre plays a prominent role on the South African arts and entertainment stage. The complex has a theatre, a concert hall and a smaller studio theatre. Many of its public spaces host art exhibitions. Over the past 4 decades the Baxter’s many productions have reflected and questioned the social and political status quo in South Africa and championed home-grown theatre and performance.
In 2018 the Department of Drama and the School of Dance merged into one entity focusing on the study of performance in general, with specialisations in theatre and dance. TheCentre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies offers a BA and a 3-year diploma in theatre and performance.
The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) was established in 2008 with a grant from the Donald Gordon Foundation. Established with the aim of facilitating new collaborative research projects, particularly in the creative and performing arts, GIPCA’s contract with the Gordon Foundation came to an end in December 2014.
The institute continues its work as a result of a grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation under a new name – the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA).
The ICA facilitates new cross-faculty, collaborative and interdisciplinary creative research projects in music, dance, fine art, drama, creative writing, and film and media studies.
Irma Stern Museum
Internationally acclaimed South African artist Irma Stern’s home was transformed into the Irma Stern Museum in 1971. It now houses a comprehensive collection of the artist’s work as well as her private collection of antique furniture and African art. The permanent collection on display shows Stern’s development as an artist. The museum’s commercial gallery hosts a monthly exhibition programme of South African artists.
Housed in the South African College of Music, the renowned Kirby collection is South Africa’s largest and most valuable collection of Southern African indigenous instruments. It includes a wide range of instruments from other African countries, China, India and Western Europe. Acquired by UCT in 1981, this unique collection is the work of acclaimed historian and musicologist Professor Percival Robson Kirby (1887–1970), who is regarded as a pioneer in South African musicology.
An interdisciplinary unit run in association with UCT’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies, the Little Theatre provides theatre spaces and facilities for theatre research at UCT as well as production opportunities for theatre, film and television companies, and community groups. The theatre coordinates a programme of classical, contemporary and experimental student productions throughout the academic year. Facilities include a scenery workshop, a costume wardrobe, and furniture and properties stores.
Michaelis School of Fine Art
The Michaelis School of Fine Art was founded in 1925 and has produced some outstanding graduates. The school is staffed by some of South Africa’s leading fine artists, printmakers, sculptors and photographers and is internationally recognised as one of South Africa’s foremost institutions for the study of fine art and new media. It houses the Michaelis Gallery, which hosts exhibitions by local and international artists, and an annual end-of-the-year exhibition of work by fourth-year students.
The South African College of Music (SACM) offers training in orchestral studies, instruments, piano, voice, African music and jazz. The college has several string, wind, jazz and percussion ensembles as well as choirs, a symphony orchestra and the Jazz Big Band. The acclaimed Opera School presents an annual season of performances. The college also offers a wide range of postgraduate programmes in ethnomusicology, performance studies in classical music, African music and jazz, musicology (theory and history) and composition.