Theatre Chipping Norton & Dukes Lancaster’s ‘The Island’ opens at Southwark Playhouse on 31 May, 2017

The Theatre Chipping Norton and Dukes Lancaster Present


By Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona

Directed by John Terry

Designed by Samantha Dowson | Movement by Diane Alison Mitchell 

Starring Edward Dede and Mark Springer

A powerful apartheid-era drama of defiance and determination, set on South Africa’s notorious and controversial Robben Island, Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona’s celebrated The Island runs at the Southwark Playhouse from 31 May – 24 June, 2017, following a short UK tour.

Co-produced by the Theatre Chipping Norton and Dukes Lancaster, this new production is directed by John Terry, designed by Samantha Dowson, choreographed by Diane Alison Mitchell and stars Edward Dede and Mark Springer in the central roles of John and Winston.

As draconian censorship laws forbade even the slightest mention of Robben Island at the time, The Island was first produced at Cape Town’s The Space back in 1973 under the cryptic title, Die Hodoshe Span. The Broadway production, presented in rep with Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, opened at the Edison Theatre on 24 November, 1974, with John Kani and Winston Ntshona co-wining the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.

Kani and Ntshona were arrested multiple times whenever they performed The Island in apartheid era South Africa, though they have reunited numerous times since to perform the show; most notably in 2000 for the National Theatre, in 2002 for the Old Vic, and in 2004 for the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Two men, unlikely friends, stagger through days of crippling prison work, breaking free in nights of playful escapism and ecstatic, dreamlike joy.

With just scraps from their cell, they prepare for a performance of Antigone in front of the prisoners and guards – an act of defiance from people who have lost everything they have to lose.

With gut-wrenching emotion, soaring beauty and exquisite simplicity, this great drama of defiance and determination draws on the stories that linger from Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner.

 Director, John Terry, commented:

(Having seen the 2002 Old Vice production) I was astonished at the power and energy of the piece, delivered by just two actors with no set and minimal props. It was a great lesson in the simple gut-wrenching power of theatre, and one that shaped my work ever since.

Our production, delivered in the round, puts the action amongst the audience. Our design approach is to create a clean, almost Grecian forum in which the sweat of the actors, the plight of the characters, is set before us, literal and unavoidable. These people are just like us. This is not just then, it is now.

The Island runs at The Dukes from April 27-May 6 and then tours to Chipping Norton Theatre from May 10-20; Tobacco Factory, Bristol from May 23-27 and finally, Southwark Playhouse from May 31-June 24.

For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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