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Its normally the Junction Avenue Theatre Company’s Malcolm Purkey on the director’s credit of ‘Sophiatown’, but come Friday 28th April, the multi-award winning director Aubrey Sekhabi will the one facing critics when the musical opens at State Theatre.
Sekhabi was one of Purkey’s students when he acquired his Dramatic Arts Honours degree in 1991 at Witwaterand University. Little did he know he’ll be directing work of his former lecture on a national stage today. Purkey has confirmed his visit to watch the musical’s preview on Thursday, Freedom Day at 11am. He will be workshopping the new cast and sharing his journey of Sophiatown after the show. The media is welcome to capture the moment.
Sekhabi’s directing work is popularly known in famous productions including ‘Kalushi -The Story of Solomon Mahlangu,’ Revonia Trial, Silent Voices, Marikana- The Musical, to name a few. In 2015 his two plays Hungry and MARIKANA received unprecedented 18 Naledi Theatre Awards Nominations, out of which he won six awards with MARIKANA- the Musical. For his contribution, his works have been nominated more than sixty times and won numerous awards along the way. Since 2002 Sekhabi has been the Artistic Director of the South African State Theatre in Pretoria, where he has established the development department and went on to produce many productions to make the theatre more accessible to the previously disadvantaged artists and audiences
‘Sophiatown’ 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 a’capella harmony and original songs from the period about Sophiatown, or Kofifi as it was fondly known.
This lively and memorable musical is revived with a fresh, new, young cast to delight today’s audiences with its timeless music. It features on stage Thabiso Tshabalala as ‘jakes’, Caitlin Clerk as ‘Ruth’, Terrence Ignacious Ngwila (Mingus), Kenneth Mlambo (Fahfee), Simphiwe Ndlovu (Princess), Madge Kola (Mamariti), Zamah Ngubane (Lulu), and Bongani Masango (Charlie).
With only just six shows left to sold-out, the highly anticipated Sophiatown will open in a 300 seating Arena Theatre on the 28th of April to run till 14th May. A possible extension will be communicated in time. Tickets can be purchased at Computicket at R110 and R100 for students. For group bookings, please contact sales office on 012 392 4000.