We are really excited to announce two new shows this autumn!
Two award-winning young directors will take on Fugard’s momentous, anti-apartheid plays, 40 years after their UK premiere. Genesis Future Directors Award winner Matthew Xia will direct Sizwe Banzi is Dead and JMK Award winner Alex Brown will direct The Island.
Created by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island received their UK premiere in 1973 at the Royal Court, the year after their world premiere in Cape Town in 1972. They were performed in repertory and transferred to the West End and Broadway; as well as receiving critical acclaim, Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island were widely recognised as cornerstones in the global anti-apartheid movement.
Sizwe Banzi is Dead
18 – 28 Sept
Fugard’s momentous, Tony-nominated play which exposes the struggle for freedom and identity in apartheid-era South Africa, unravelling the brutal absurdities of everyday life under oppression.
It’s 1972 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and Sizwe Banzi’s passbook gives him just three days to find work. No work and he’ll be deported. That was four days ago. So when Sizwe stumbles across a dead body with a passbook, he asks himself – does his identity card really define who he is? Can he give up his family and his name in order to survive?
Matthew Xia was Assistant Director on the world premiere of Blackta directed by David Lan at the Young Vic in autumn 2012. He served ten years on the Board at Theatre Royal Stratford East where he was also Associate Director. His work there included: Inheritance, Skin, I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky, Mad Blud, Aladdin and The Blacks. Other directing credits include: Re:Definition (Hackney Empire) and Wild Child (Royal Court). He is currently Director in Residence at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, funded through the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, where in October he will direct the world premiere of Daniel Matthew’s debut play, Scrappers. He sits on the Board of Directors at Rich Mix, and as a DJ and BBC broadcaster has performed as Excalibah across the UK and Europe most recently appearing at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony.
7 – 30 Nov
Created by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona during the apartheid era, The Island is inspired by true stories from South Africa’s notorious RobbenIsland, the prison Nelson Mandela was held in for 27 years.
John and Winston, imprisoned for their opposition to apartheid, rehearse a performance of Antigone for their cellmates. They share hopes and dreams, strengthening each other’s spirits in the face of brutal oppression. Then John’s sentence is reduced. He prepares to walk free. How will Winston survive without him?
Sophocles in South Africa in the seventies. This famous play by Fugard, Kani and Ntshona is an inspiring reminder of the resilience of human beings even in the darkest days.
Alex Brown directed Old Vic New Voices: 24 Hour Plays in 2010 and went on to work on OVNV’s Ignite project and the TS Eliot Exchange. As an assistant director, his credits include The Turn of the Screw at the Almeida with Lindsay Posner and Jez Butterworth’s The River at the Royal Court with Ian Rickson. He is also a Connections Director for this year’s National Theatre’s NT Connections Festival.
To book your tickets and to find out more about the shows, visit our website now!