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Patisserie Femme: A Women’s Bakery Theatre Production

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Patisserie Femme: A Women’s Bakery Theatre Production

Jesse Diepeveen was close to graduating with her theatre degree when she began to contemplate her future. She had an idea to create a satirical theatre production that would talk about how women’s bodies, especially Black women, were viewed as sexual objects to be devoured and thrown out. This idea manifested in a theatre production. ‘Patisserie Femme’, explained Jesse, ‘can be directly translated to Bakery Women.’  She further explained that the name for this multidiscipline project can be further described as a bakery that produces women or a women’s bakery.

In conceptualising the production, Jesse first spoke with her female friends to get a sense of their view of their lives as women in South Africa. Her research revealed that many of the women felt objectified by men through being catcalled. ‘They’d say things like my dark chocolate baby or sweety pie’ said Jesse, who also expanded on these remarks’ bad connotation.

Jesse sought support to implement her project. She applied for the Presidential Employment Stimulus Program (PESP 3) through the National Arts Council of South Africa, which opened on 20 June 2022 and closed on 29 July 2022 and her project was successfully funded. The PESP 3 aimed to provide an economic stimulus to the arts and culture sector through the support of initiatives that would create jobs. Project proposals applying for this funding call were mainly assessed on the artistic merit and innovation of the project, the ability to transform the sector, the number of jobs created, the amount of experience the applicant had in the sector and/or new ideas as well as financial management of the project.

Patisserie Femme was an innovative satirical theatre production without a set where the actresses used their bodies to create a visual image of the set to artistically put a spotlight on issues of gender-based violence. The project created employment for seven youths under the age of 24, one male and six female. To develop an audience for the project, Jesse opted to perform for high school children over the age of 16. The production was also performed at the Drama Factory in Cape Town for further access to markets and audiences.

Jesse plans to have the production travel around Cape Town and this will keep the project sustainable. For more information on the next showing of Patisserie Femme, you can contact Jesse Diepeveen at or 081 043 3212.


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