Premiere US Premiere
Production Language English
Country of Origin South Africa
Description Based in Cape Town, South Africa and comprising performers drawn primarily from the city’s townships, the Isango Ensemble has garnered international acclaim for its deeply musical, theatricalized adaptations of classic works. With A Man of Good Hope the company draws inspiration from a contemporary work whose subject matter hits close to home. In a coproduction with the Young Vic—which partnered with Isango on 2014’s Olivier Award-winning The Magic Flute—the company adapts for the stage South African native Johnny Steinberg’s 2015 book about a Somali refugee’s journey from Mogadishu to Johannesburg and finally to the US. Driven by Isango’s powerhouse vocals and signature marimba, the resulting work is a cleareyed portrait of the compromises and resilience necessary for survival, one which transforms a single man’s story into an expansive African epic. The Young Vic’s Artistic Director David Lan says “[A Man of Good Hope] is far and away the most adventurous project the company has attempted. It is also of enormous social and political significance.”
Award-winning South African theater company Isango Ensemble has drawn widespread praise for its productions reimagining classics in a South African setting and using artists drawn mainly from Cape Town townships. Founded in 2000 by director Mark Dornford-May and music director Pauline Malefane, the company regularly performs in Cape Town and worldwide at venues including Shakespeare’s Globe, the Young Vic, Hackney Empire, London’s West End, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and throughout the US. Isango Ensemble’s productions include La bohème Abanxaxhi, produced in partnership with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; The Magic Flute Impempe Yomlingo, co-produced by the Young Vic (Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, Globes de Cristal Award for Best Opera Production, and South African Arts and Culture Award for Excellence in Opera); and A Christmas Carol Ikrismas Kherol (What’s On Stage Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Off-West End Production).