Iconic South African productions at the inaugural Joburg Theatre’s Schools Setworks Festival

From the 23 April to 5 May the Joburg Theatre will host its inaugural Schools Setworks Festival featuring two highly acclaimed productions: Sophiatown and Itsoseng, currently set in high school curriculum.

Sophiatown is presented by Joburg City Theatres in partnership with The South African State Theatre. Directed by the State Theatre’s multi-award-winning Artistic Director, Aubrey Sekhabi, this iconic production has been revived with a fresh and young cast that resonates with today’s audiences. Featured on stage is Phumlani Mdlalose (Jakes), Caitlin Clerk (Ruth), Terrence Ignacious Ngwila (Mingus), Kenneth Mlambo (Fahfee), Barileng Malebye (Princess), Madge Kola (Mamariti), Zama Ngubane (Lulu), and Bongani Masango/ Maurice Matyutyu (Charlie).

The play is rich in the timeless ‘Kofifi-styled’ acapella harmonies and original music that made the Sophiatown residential area legendary and the original production very famous. Sophiatown tells the extraordinary original story of journalists who set up a house together and advertise for an additional housemate to live with them. Despite the apartheid legislation of those days, they get permission for a white Jewish woman to move in when she turns up with a suitcase on their doorstep.

Sophiatown is both synonymous with South Africa’s most famous musicians, artists, writers, journalists and politicians and one apartheid’s darkest periods of forced removals. A time captured beautifully in the play by Malcolm Purkey and brought to life once more under Sekhabi’s direction.

The second production in the festival is the gripping one-man play Itsoseng written and directed by Omphile Molusi and performed by Thapelo Sebogodi. Set between the early 1990s and 2008, Itsoseng finds its inspiration in the North West Province township of Itsoseng and is a first-hand account of life in a South African township. Devasted by the protests that led to its shopping centre and economic hub being burnt the ground, Itsoseng stumbles through the economic hardships felt by townships across the country.

Sebogodi keeps audiences on the edge of their seats with his gripping portrayal of a township lost. The story is further brought to life by the skills of set and costume designer Ntabiseng Malaka and lighting designing Hlomohang “Spider” Mothetho.

Tickets are available from R60 at www.joburgtheatre.com or by calling the box office on 0861 670 670 for group bookings with a special promotion on weekend performances discount of R200 for a double feature of Itsoseng and Sophiatown with the first performance starting at 6pm and the second at 8pm.