Hard-hitting play Refugees focuses on the harsh realities of people living in refugee camps in Africa. Picture: Supplied
Hard-hitting play Refugees focuses on the harsh realities of people living in refugee camps in Africa. Picture: Supplied

Durban Playhouse offers up fresh theatre works for Africa Month

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published May 13, 2021

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The Durban Playhouse Company is ready to celebrate Africa Month with an exciting festival of arts titled “New Stages” from May 13 to 21.

A team of vibrant and diverse talent has been assembled to showcase fresh theatre works including drama, music and topical discussions under the theme “The year of Arts, Culture and Heritage in the year of Charlotte Maxeke”.

Here’s what you can look forward to:

Refugees Thursday, May 13 at 10am; Friday, May 14 at 7pm and Saturday, May 15 at 2.30pm, R50 via Webtickets.

“Refugees”. Picture: Supplied

The gripping, hard-hitting play “Refugees” focuses on the harsh realities of people living in refugee camps in Africa.

Directed by Jerry Pooe and starring Xolani Henema, Nhlakanipho Maphumulo, Bongumusa Shabalala, Nxege Ndlovu, Stella Zuma, Zanele Zulu, Sfundo Mbanjwa and Qiniso Mngoma, it focuses on people reduced to statistics while trapped in a refugee camp.

It relates personal stories of pain, sadness, soul-searching, humiliation and hope told through movement, song, images and narration.

Test Driving the Arts Friday, May 14 from 1pm. Free at The Playhouse Cellar

Feature Amajalimane and the Grateful Singers, performing maskandi and gospel music.

Azania Saturday, May 15 at 12pm at The Playhouse Loft

“Azania”, a new drama, tells a story of hope and disappointment through flashbacks.

It is centred on a man called Bantu Africa, whose search for a daughter who disappeared when South Africa gained democracy in 1994 continues for two decades.

During his search, Bantu meets a white woman who wants to marry him, but an hour before the wedding, Bantu unveils a secret.

Innovation and Creativity During the Covid-19 Pandemic Saturday May 15 at 12pm at The Playhouse Grand Foyer

This free community conversation is a lively discussion by a diverse panel of experts.

The dialogue will be facilitated by actress, author and activist Ayanda Borotho.

The panel will include actress and fashion designer Sthandiwe Kgoroge; all-female communications agency founder and chief executive Tumi Mkhonto; actor, editor and former model Muzi Mthabela; and actor Thabo Mnguni. Numbers are limited, so booking a free ticket is advised.

Email [email protected]

The Themba Mkhize Jazz Experience Saturday, May 15 at 7pm at The Playhouse Opera theatre. R100 at Webtickets.

Jazz pianist, arranger and composer Themba Mkhize. Picture: Supplied.

Award-winning jazz pianist, arranger and composer Themba Mkhize and his equally talented pianist son, Afrika Mkhize, will share the stage with Empangeni-raised Afrojazz and gospel vocalist Nokukhanya Dlamini, to offer a glittering celebration of South African jazz.

Entertainment Under the New Normal Friday, May 21 at 12pm. Free at The Playhouse Grand Foyer

This dialogue will be an open-community conversation that aims to offer solutions to artists, business owners, companies and entrepreneurs that are experiencing negative effects of the global pandemic.

The discussion will be facilitated by Sipho Sithole, a widely respected expert on music and culture, and will include panellists DJ Tira, popular recording personality Mdu Ngcobo, and the founder of the SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards, Zanele Mbokazi.

To book a free seat, email [email protected]

Usphetho Friday, May 21 at 2pm at The Playhouse Loft

There will be more drama and song with a new stage work titled “Usphetho” and music by kwaito group Showkillers.

“Usphetho” is inspired by the true story of an elderly security guard at the South African National Graveyard. He becomes a suspect when, in 2018, a coffin containing the body of a well-known community member is stolen.

Sundowner Concert Friday May 21 at 5pm at The Grand Foyer

Featuring exciting Durban singer-songwriter Zoe the Seed, who has worked with Ernest Dawkins, Salim Washington, Africa Mkhize, Ernie Smith and Nduduzo Makhathini.

The concert will also spotlight seasoned Durban bassist Bongani Nkwanyana, who has performed alongside Sipho Gumede, Busi Mhlongo, Tu Nokwe and Mbongeni Ngema, among others.

Mbuso Khoza: iJadu Le Africa Friday, May 21 at 7pm at The Playhouse Opera. R100 at Webtickets

Powerhouse Mbuso Khoza, an award-winning vocalist, composer, writer and proponent of African culture and heritage, will give a one-night-only performance. Khoza will be accompanied by a 16-voice a cappella group, the Afrikan Heritage Ensemble.

It promises to be a joyous celebration of Afrocentric music, the programme featuring original compositions and seminal works by African giants.

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