Together with the Handspring Trust, Net vir Pret, Magpie Art Collective and Ukwanda Puppet and Design Company, the CHR has worked at creating an ongoing inquiry into performance and publics. Forged in relation to the research platform on Aesthetics and Politics, the partnership project results in an annual performance and parade on 16 December (Reconciliation Day) in the rural town of Barrydale in the Karoo. The performance is supported through year-long workshops in puppet making, theatre direction, story development and rehearsals involving about 200 youth from Barrydale, who work with acclaimed artists from the Handspring Puppet Company in the field puppetry in performance.
The CHR has also supported the work of the Ukwanda Puppet and Design Company through an annual grant towards theatre making workshops and through an artist-in-residence fellowship, dedicated specifically towards performance studies.
The Centre is invited to convene various performances on campus in the absence of a school of fine arts. To this end, the collaboration with Handspring Trust has brought various productions to the University of the Western Cape (UWC), including Qhawe, a play directed and produced by CHR resident fellow, Mongi Mthombeni, and performed by Ukwanda Puppet and Design Company. In 2014, the partnership with Handspring resulted in a demonstration of the world famous War Horse on the UWC campus on the occasion of the retirement of the Vice Chancellor of UWC, Professor Brian O’Connell. The relationship with Handspring Trust is further cemented by the fact that the CHR director, Premesh Lalu, is the current chairperson of the Trust.