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Rudi van der Merwe takes Lovers, Dogs and Rainbows to the people


25 March 10h00, 26 March 13h00, 27 March 16h00
KKNK Festival, Laerskool Wesbank, Oudtshoorn
[Book through Computicket]

6 April 19h00
Dance Umbrella, State Theatre, Pretoria
[Book through Webtickets]

11 April 18h00
Institute for the Creative Arts, public lecture series, UCT Hiddingh Campus, Cape Town
[Free, bookings through ICA]

27 April
My Body My Space Festival, Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga
[Free, more details via the festival]

Lovers, Dogs and Rainbows is a documentary film and performance project about heritage and identity and how it can serve as a springboard to chart future co-existence between cultures, genders and life forms.

Born and raised in Calvinia, South Africa, performer Rudi van der Merwe now lives in the ‘City of Calvin’ (Geneva), Switzerland. Seeking to place his personal history within a larger socio-political context, the project is an attempt to take stock of the good, the bad and the ugly of his upbringing and what remains of it twenty years down the line by revisiting the people and places of his youth.

The film footage was shot during a two-week residency in December 2017 and explores how Calvinia deals with post-apartheid reality and severe inequality found in all South African towns. A predominantly Afrikaans-speaking community,

van der Merwe says: “I remember Calvinia as a bastion of conservative political and social values. I always wanted to run away from Calvinia and left as soon as I could, but those for whom Calvinia is the only thing they ever knew, the people who live and die there, do they have dreams? Do they get to live them in Calvinia?”

His research extended to looking into the plight of formerly and currently marginalised groups such as coloured women, the LGBTIQ community… and 1 dogs.

“However I also discovered the town as a whole has fallen on hard times as the effects of climate change bears down upon the whole region in the shape of a devastating drought,” he says.

“I have opted for a style of drag performance to attempt to perform gender, whiteness and humanness juxtaposed with the footage shot in Calvinia. Drag, beyond the performative aspect, has a quality of PLAY that is central to this undertaking.”


Concept and direction: Rudi van der Merwe
Space: Victor Roy
Costume: Kata Tóth
Sound Clive:  Jenkins
Video:  Erika Irmler, Rudi van der Merwe
Administration: Pâquis
Production – Laure Chapel
Promotion BravoBravo – Gabor Varga
Production SkreeWolf

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