Studio Julian Hetzel & Ntando Cele Utrecht, The Netherlands / Bern, Switzerland


Utrecht, The Netherlands / Bern, Switzerland

“SPAfrica” is a performance about empathy and extractivism. It’s a project that explores the connection between capitalism and racism. Julian Hetzel and Ntando Cele join forces to explore the limits of empathy, the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing. What happens if empathy doesn’t change or overcome power structures but reinforces existing privileges? In “SPAfrica”, Hetzel and Cele present a two-fold gesture about extracting liquid empathy, which builds upon the transaction of resources between Europe and Africa – water for tears, tears for water. On the one hand, drinking water from the sub-Saharan regions is imported into Europe: SPAfrica – the world’s first empathy drink. On the other hand, tears are farmed at the heart of Europe and transferred to the source of the water in Africa. A ridiculous trade with no rational justification other than global inequalities and the exploitation of natural and emotional resources that characterise neoliberal capitalism. In the international art market, the cultural background and the identity of the protagonists have become valuable resources for value creation. Is trauma the new gold of the arts? And what are the resources of Hetzel and Cele themselves?


Julian Hetzel works as a performer, musician and visual artist. His works develop along the intersection between theatre, music and media, and they have a political dimension and a documentary approach. He directs Studio Julian Hetzel in Utrecht and has presented his work in over 20 countries worldwide.

Ntando Cele returns to Santarcangelo after presenting “Go Go Othello” in 2022. Born in South Africa, she currently lives in Bern (Switzerland). Cele studied acting in Durban and Amsterdam. Her work subverts the borders between physical theatre, video installation, concert and performance. She combines music, text and video to recreate her identity on stage.


piazza S. Girolamo 3, Longiano



di Julian Hetzel e Ntando Cele
regia Julian Hetzel
performance Ntando Cele
drammaturgia Miguel Angel Melgares
consulenza artistica Sodja Lotker, Khanyisile Mbongwa
musiche Frank Wienk
light design Nico de Rooij
coordinamento tecnico Cesco van der Zwaag, Martijn van Nunen, Bea Verbeek
tecnica Simon Kelaita, Wout Jansen
soluzioni tecniche Merijn Versnel, Guido Bevers
responsabile produzione Marieke van den Bosch
produzione Cape Town Lungile Mbongwa
gallerista Cape Town Mpilo Ngcukana
assistente di produzione Jana Riese
assistente costumista Merel van Erpers Roijaards
maschere Carly Heathcote
make-up artist Julia Markow
props Saskia Hartog
stage Piet van Duijn Ferreira
documentazione video Reynold Reynolds, Bongeka Ngcobo
prodotto da Studio Julian Hetzel
coprodotto da Schauspiel Leipzig (DE), CAMPO Gent (BE), Theater Vidy-Lausanne (CH), SPRING Performing Arts Festival Utrecht (NL), Auawirleben Festival, Berna (CH)
con il sostegno di Performing Arts Fund (NL), City of Utrecht (NL), Fonds21 (NL), Vriendenloterij Fund (NL), Prins Bernhard Culture Fund (NL), Onassis AiR Athens (GR), 16 on Lerotholi Gallery (ZA)

progetto realizzato con il supporto di Performing Arts Fund NL, Ambasciata e Consolato Generale del Regno dei Paesi Bassi, Goethe-Institut Mailand, promosso dal Ministero Federale degli Affari Esteri della Repubblica Federale di Germania

in collaborazione con Kilowatt Festival

© Anouk Maupu