The Baxter Theater Co. of Cape Town, South Africa, yesterday canceled its run at the Baltimore International Theater Festival after protests by local groups.
"At this moment the run has been canceled," said Al Kraizer, producing director of the festival. "Whether or not there will be other performances is not known." Kraizer, who invited the group to the festival, said, "We're waiting for Godot."
The Baxter, an integrated company from Cape Town that includes two Tony-award-winning black actors, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, had been scheduled to perform "Waiting for Godot," beginning last night.
An organization called the Coalition in Support of Liberation Struggles of Southern Africa has protested with pickets and letters the appearance of the theater group, despite the fact that there are blacks in the company. Anthony Robinson, co-chairman of the coalition, has said the protest is aimed at the company rather than at individual actors. According to Robinson, the coalition has called for a break in all relations with the South African government, and even an invitation to a theater group is viewed as a sanction of that government.
"This group does not represent South Africa," said Kraizer yesterday. "They are from South Africa. They are a private theater group connected with the University of Cape Town. They are not representatives of the South African government. They do not get any funding from the South African government and the company is totally opposed to the policies of the South African government."
Robinson, an attorney, was not available for comment yesterday because he was in court, according to his secretary.
The South African theater group had been slated to appear at the festival through Sunday. The festival opened June 6.