Jermyn Street Theatre to Present Season of South African Work, June 10-July 12

Jermyn Street Theatre to Present Season of South African Work, June 10-July 12

This summer Jermyn Street Theatre presents a five week season of theatre featuring some of South Africa's most acclaimed playwrights and best-loved performers. The season will include major work by Athol Fugard and Reza de Wet, with performances by actors including Janet Suzman, Jack Klaff, Doreen Mantle and Basil Appollis. the programme runs June 10 through July 12, 2014, with press nights on June 12 (programme 1) and June 13 (programme 2).

To complement the season there will be a series of special workshops and events including a full production of a newly commissioned play by Jack Klaff and readings directed by BBC Theatre Fellow at the Bush & Lyric Roy Alexander Weise. There will also be a live discussion chaired by Dr Cindy Lawford and featuring Audrey Brown, the presenter of Network Africa on the BBC's World Service.

by Reza De Wet
Directed by Anthony Biggs Designed by Victoria Johnstone Lighting design by Charlie Lucas

A haunting tale of an English governess working for a Boer family in South Africa during the 1890s, and her sister Katy back home in a seaside hotel in England. When Emma dies Katy discovers her hidden diary and learns the full and terrible extent of Emma's yearning and isolation.

A prolific writer who wrote eleven plays in fourteen years before her untimely death in 2012, Reza De Wet has won more theatre and literary awards than any other South African playwright, including the prestigious Herzog Prize (1994), the highest honour in Afrikaans literature.

by Athol Fugard
Directed by Cordelia Monsey Designed by Victoria Johnstone Lighting Design by Michael Nabarro

Six seconds in which men destroy something only God can give... Two lovers lie together and talk. Frieda is a white, middle-class librarian. Philander is a married Cape Coloured man with a young family, living in the most abject conditions in one of South Africa's thousands of shanty towns. The police enter and arrest them, and both are forced to give statements.

Written in 1964, the year Nelson Mandela began his sentence on Robben Island, and inspired by real events, Statements is a devastating story of illegal love under Apartheid. A playwright whose work is performed and celebrated on a global scale, Athol Fugard's plays include The Blood Knot, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, and 'Master Harold'... and the boys.

The European Premiere of
Co-authored and performed by Basil Appollis
Directed by Sandra Temmingh Associate Producer & Co-author: Sylvia Vollenhoven

Whenever you bought furniture from Mr Katzen he generously threw in a print of King George VI and his Queen. They were hanging all over the District, hence the nickname: Buckingham Palace. Acclaimed South African actor Basil Appollis celebrates the life and work of legendary writer Richard Rive and his tales of District Six - the heart of Cape Town ripped out because it stood in the way of grand apartheid fantasies. With the Mother City being World Design Capital 2014 this play shows us how important it is to redesign our skewed historic perspectives, to reflect on the contested wasteland at the foot of Table Mountain and to put District Six centre stage where it belongs. And it's all done with humour and style.

The World Premiere of
Written and performed by Jack Klaff
Directed by Anthony Biggs

Inspired by the recent special edition of the BBC's QUESTION TIME following the death of Nelson Mandela, which highlighted the continuing division in contemporary South African society, celebrated actor Jack Klaff presents his achingly funny and deeply moving tribute to his homeland, told through forty years of letters between Jack in self-imposed exile in Europe and his mother back in Cape Town.

Jack Klaff is a South African-born actor, writer, director and academic. Klaff has held four visiting professorships at Princeton University and was for four years Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Starlab in Brussels.

Produced by Clive Chenery and Artistic Director Anthony Biggs, The South African Season continues Jermyn Street Theatre's policy of rediscovering rarely performed plays and playwrights, and championing new writing. Biggs was appointed AD in 2013 having previously been Associate Director for three years during a period of unprecedented change for which the theatre won the Stage 100 Award for Fringe Theatre of the Year 2012 and was nominated for The Peter Brook Empty Stage Award.

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