Sophiatown revisited at SA State Theatre


South Africa’s timeless theatre classic Sophiatown, directed by award-winning playwright and director Aubrey Sekhabi, returns to the South African State Theatre.

Sophiatown revisited at the SA State Theatre
Sophiatown revisited at the SA State Theatre

This year’s season from 13 August to 15 September 2019 is the third in three consecutive years at the State Theatre.

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Originally written by veteran playwright and director Malcolm Purkey, this long-standing reimagination by Sekhabi scored a Naledi Award nomination for Best Choreography by Bafikile Sidibe in 2018. Zakhele Mabena is accountable for the immortal score as the musical director, while Moheedi Mohule Mathe is a senior manager for stage and costume designer.

Along its campaigns at the Joburg Theatre and Soweto Theatre in the early parts of the year, the production welcomed new cast members in specific roles: Sphelele Mnyande (as Mingus), Christina Knight(Ruth), Barieleng Thato Malebye (Princess), and Tshallo Chokwe (Fahfee) join returning, Terrence Ignacious Ngwila (1st week Mingus), Zamah Sine Ngubane (Lulu), Bongani Masango (Charlie) and Madge Kola (Mama Riti) in the dynamic cast list of Sophiatown.

Sophiatown musical play is an imaginative reconstruction of an extraordinary story of journalists who set up a house together and advertised for another housemate to come and live with them. Despite the apartheid legislation of those days, they managed to obtain permission for a white Jewish woman to move in. This character was Ruth Golden from Yeoville, who turned up with a suitcase on the Sophiatown doorstep of an explosive journalist, Jakes. The challenge was integration. The play is interspersed throughout with acapella harmony and original songs from the period about Sophiatown, or Kofifi as it was fondly known.

Sophiatown settlement came to be known as the ‘Chicago of South Africa’, a place where shebeen queens, gangsters, politicians and black and white ‘Bohemians’ rubbed shoulders and traded drinks in a heady atmosphere fizzing with music, style, and rebellion. This vibrant community produced some of South Africa’s most famous musicians, artists, writers, journalists and politicians as urban African culture formed here during the repressive 1940s and 1950s.

Ticket Prices for Sophiatown range from R100 to R120 at Webtickets – online and over the counter at Pick n Pay stores nationwide. For group, school and corporate bookings people can contact State Theatre’s sales department at 012 392 4000.

Production Credits
Writer: Malcolm Purkey
Director: Aubrey Sekhabi
Assistant Director: Eliot Moleba
Choreographer: Bafikile Sidibe
Musical Director: Zakhele Mabena
Set Designer: Lungile Cindi
Lighting Designer: Mandla Mtshali
Senior Stage Manager & Costume Designer: Moheedi Mohule Mathe
Assistant Stage Manager: Joseph Mogale
Dresser: Thandeka Nkosi
Cast: Sphelele Mnyande (as Mingus), Terrence Ignacious Ngwila (1st Week Mingus), Christina Knight (Ruth), Barieleng Thato Malebye (Princess), and Tshallo Chokwe (Fahfee) join returning, Zamah Sine Ngubane (Lulu), Bongani Masango (Charlie) and Madge Kola (Mama Riti)


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