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  • Theatre
  • SPRING coproduction
  • SPRING coproduction
  • NL premiere


Ntando Cele, Julian Hetzel
20 May, 21 May, 22 May 2023
Theater Kikker Grote Zaal
90 minutes
English with Dutch surtitles
Duitsland, Nederland, Zuid-Afrika, Zwitserland
€17,50 / €14,50

Two great provocateurs join forces to reveal the perverse aspects of the water industry and its impact on our society

“Theatremaker and artist Julian Hetzel did it again: after 90 mind-boggling minutes during SPRING Performing Arts Festival, you are outside with a pit in your stomach and a brain full of moral and artistic dilemmas.” – ★★★★☆ in De Volkskrant

With SPAfrica, Julian Hetzel delves into the dark politics of water and examines the complex intertwining of ethics and economics. Using water as conflict material, the performer shows how closely racism is linked to capitalism. The performance, which was created in collaboration with South African performer Ntando Cele and musician Frank Wienk, combines theatre, music and video. This creates a hybrid experience that exposes the relationships between a product and the social struggles in the country where it comes from, between consumption and inequality.

SPAfrica critiques extractivist practices and value creation using water as a model. In response to the incongruity of privately owned freshwater resources, despite the human right to clean drinking water, Hetzel questions the problematic mechanisms of empathy. SPAfrica offers a sustainable luxury product – sub-Saharan drinking water exported into Europe – as a contradictory yet sustainable alternative to the commodification of water by multinationals such as Nestlé, Unilever, and Coca-Cola. SPAfrica is the world’s first ‘empathy drink’.

While provocative, Hetzel’s projects are poetic, moving and humorous. With a tight visual language he brings complex moral, social and political dilemmas close to the audience. Julian Hetzel studied a decade ago with Ntando Cele at DAS Theatre. After his studies Hetzel settled his studio in Utrecht, Ntando Cele is developing her further projects in Switzerland. Two individuals, who focus their artistic practices on a critical approach towards their own communities: artists who constantly try to push us out of our comfort zone.

SPAfrica, like many earlier  productions by Studio Julian Hetzel, is a co-production with SPRING. Since the collaboration with Julian Hetzel started in 2014, several of his significant productions have been presented at SPRING. This year again, Julian works closely together with SPRING. Together with Ntando Cele, he is part of the Topic Talk between invitation and provocation.

★★★★☆ in De Volkskrant



Ntando Cele


Julian Hetzel

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