Symposium: Live, Love and Leave a Legacy

9 Sep 2019 - 16:45

Symposium: Live, Love and Leave a Legacy


Friday 13th September, 4pm to 6pm, Auditorium 1, Cape Town International Convention Centre. Free admission, but booking essential on Quicket -

[Coffee served from 3pm]

You are invited to participate in a symposium hosted by the Second Chance Theatre Project’s partners, the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies and Dept. of Social Development, NICRO, and the Dept of Correctional Services.

Book for this on Quicket and see the show at 7pm. For the show go to

The symposium is part of this year’s Second Chance Theatre Project’s programme. The symposium will discuss the history and heritage of prisons, corrections in South Africa, restorative justice, social reintegration, and the role of theatre in transforming lives.

Keynote speakers will include Andy Watson (MBE), Artistic Director of the internationally renowned Geese Theatre Company ( His theatrical presentation is titled Behind the Mask. Veronica Baxter has brought Andy Watson to Cape Town because “this was the most satisfying theatrical intervention I have ever seen.”

Prof. Leon Holtzhausen (University of Cape Town, Dept of Social Development)) will discuss the transformation of the SA prisons system under apartheid to the current Correctional Services and the restorative justice approach. His presentation is entitled Hey Bandiet! Reflections of a Social Worker in Supermax prison post 94.

Ms Venessa Padayachee (NICRO) will speak about the more than one hundred years’ heritage of NICRO, and the importance of lived values in transforming the criminal justice system.

The Symposium will be chaired by Veronica Baxter. The Second Chance Theatre Project and the Symposium is funded by the National Research Foundation as part of its Community Engagement Programme.

Editor’s information:

For further information and interviews please contact Veronica Baxter, on, or via sms or whatsapp on 071 035 0026. Please note that phone calls cannot be answered during rehearsal hours.

An hour will be available on Thursday 12th September at the CTICC Auditorium 1 at 1pm, involving the actors from the Pollsmoor and Parole theatre companies, facilitators and students.

Biographies of presenters

Andy Watson, MBE - Artistic Director / CEO - Having trained in Paris at the Lecoq School of Mime and Physical Theatre, he joined Geese in 1997, and became Artistic Director in 2003. His work involves overseeing the artistic integrity of the company’s work, devising theatre performances for use in a wide variety of social welfare settings, and developing creative projects with people in prisons, secure hospitals and in the community. He regularly delivers staff training events for professionals working with vulnerable, marginalised and volatile populations. Andy has a particular interest in working with high-risk offenders, offenders with personality disorders and young people who engage in sexually harmful behaviour. Andy is currently the Vice Chair of the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, sits on the Women’s Prison Estate Advisory Board, and was appointed MBE in the 2018 New Year Honours for services to arts in the Criminal Justice System. 

Prof Leon Holtzhausen holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Master of Social Work (with Specialisation in Community Development) and a PhD (with Specialization in Criminal Justice Social Work). After graduating, Holtzhausen practiced clinical social work in a Super Maximum Prison for more than six years. Here he specialized in offender profiling, assessment and mental health treatment of male adult and juvenile offenders and their families. Treatment and rehabilitation services included, amongst others, a broad range of psychosocial and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, mood and personality disorders, psychosis, suicide, interpersonal relationships, life crises, incarceration adjustment issues, substance addiction, victimization, trauma, and family conflicts. He is currently employed as an Associate Professor of Social Work, by the Department of Social Development; University of Cape Town, South Africa where he lectures at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Ms Venessa Padayachee holds a BA Honours in Social Work and Masters in Criminology. She also has a diploma in Human Resources management. She has worked for NICRO and the prisons section for 24 years, and is passionate about promoting and protecting the rights, dignity, and value of people in prison and returning. She has travelled to many countries to examine criminal justice systems, prison programmes and alternative models for justice. She regularly presents at conferences across the world and writes journal articles about youth incarceration, restorative justice, offender reintegration and cognitive behavioural work with offenders.

Veronica Baxter is the principal research investigator and artistic director of the Second Chance Theatre Project. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town's Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies. Her specialist field is applied theatre, particularly in social health. She is co-editor and writer of Applied Theatre: Performing Health and Wellbeing, a book that analyses case studies of theatre in health from across the world.