From Lavender Hill to the Baxter Theatre, Arlene Petersen is changing the narrative

Arlene Petersen hails from Hillview.

Arlene Petersen hails from Hillview.

Published Jul 6, 2024


Lavender Hill comedian Arlene Petersen is to host her debut solo show at the Baxter Theatre this month.

With over five years in the comedy industry, Petersen said this moment marks one of her biggest achievements in her career.

In collaboration with Purple Ostrich Media and Kreative Beings, Petersen will showcase her cracking comedy skills in “Plain Jane” from July 18–20.

Known for her wit and charm, the 35-year-old comic is set to captivate audiences with her unique brand of humour topped with unforgettable moments as she shares her comedic talents and storytelling prowess.

Petersen describes the show as a “testament to the power of creativity and collaboration in the arts”. By bringing together talented individuals and partnering with esteemed organisations, the show aims to showcase the best of South African comedy and storytelling.

Founder of Kreative Beings, Kaylin Khan, is the show’s producer.

“Arlene’s humour and warmth are sure to delight audiences, and we are proud to support her in this exciting venture.”

For Petersen, the journey to the limelight has dealt her heavy blows, including losing her twin brother, bullying from fellow comedians, financial hurdles, abuse, and then the might of the pandemic costing her the loss of income.

But the dedicated comedian says she has overlooked all hurdles and has still come out triumphant, even being recognised by the Baxter Theatre and awarded the Artes Award for using her voice to uplift her community through comedy, in 2023.

“Making my solo debut at the Baxter makes me feel like anything else is possible. I’m nervous and excited at the same time, but I’m more than ready for this opportunity. I have set this goal out for myself many years ago and now it’s finally happening,” said an excited Petersen.

“This year, I celebrate six years as a professional stand-up comedienne and the growth is evident. Internally and externally, when I started comedy I thought I was so kwaai onstage but looking at old videos now makes me cringe. I’ve learnt that when I’m onstage I have the audience attention so don't waste it. Make a difference by letting someone in the audience go home feeling good about themselves.”

Arlene Petersen and Kaylin Khan. Picture: Supplied

Petersen is also currently playing in the comedy Showmax series “Mince Jou Hare”, where she makes her acting TV debut.

She encourages youth who come from dire circumstances to use her life as an inspiration to overcome hurdles.

“My message to the youth is ‘don’t give up on yourself’.

“So many time we are faced with situations where people count us out due to our socio-economic status and that’s okay. As long as we don’t count ourselves out, keep on.

“Push through, believe in yourself and celebrate your small achievements because that’s the stepping stones to the big victories.”

“It has been an exciting yet nerve-racking journey this far, because it’s my first time producing on my own. I’m so used to just stage managing, but this process called on a whole new different side to me,” said Khan.

“My highlights include moments where I was able to create opportunities for Arlene to cross off her bucket list and me being able to give back to others and create exposure for people who really deserve it, especially ones who push really had to change the narratives. I love that this process also allow some to grow and discover more strengths within myself.”

Tickets for “Plain Jane” are available on Webtickets at R100.