Manchester International Festival announces casting for Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah’s ‘Tree’

Photos by Marc Brenner 

Manchester International Festival (MIF), the Young Vic and Green Door Pictures have today announced the full cast for the world premiere of Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah‘s anticipated new theatre piece, Tree, which runs at MIF from 4 to 13 July 2019 (Previews from 29 June) before transferring to London’s Young Vic Theatre from 29 July to 24 August 2019.

Directed by Kwei-Armah and produced by Elba, with music inspired by Elba’s album Mi Mandela, this exhilarating new collaboration is an electrifying blend of drama, music and dance which follows one man’s journey into the heart and soul of contemporary South Africa – with the audience at the centre of the action.

The full cast includes: Christian Bradley, Lucy Briggs-Owen, Sinéad Cusack, Kurt Edyiawan, Alfred Enoch, Anna-Kay Alicia Gayle, Joan Iyiola, Anthony Matsena, Daniella May, Patrice Naiambana, Mbulelo Ndabeni and Andile Sotiya.

Directed by Kwei-Armah and produced by Elba, with music inspired by Elba’s album Mi Mandela, this exhilarating new collaboration is an electrifying blend of drama, music and dance which follows one man’s journey into the heart and soul of contemporary South Africa – with the audience at the centre of the action.



It’s just 12 hours from London to his parents’ homeland, but to Kaleo (Alfred Enoch), South Africa is another world.

A family tragedy finally forces him to visit for the first time – and as he takes his journey of healing, Kaleo must confront hidden histories and right the wrongs of the past.

But first he must face the present: a shattered family, fighting to hold on to what they believe is theirs, in a nation haunted by the ghosts of its own turbulent past.



Director Kwame Kwei-Armah said:

“I feel genuinely privileged to be working with this incredible group of actors, dancers and musicians to bring to life our shared vision for Tree, inspired by Idris’s intoxicating Mi Mandela album. As a director and as a producer, what excites me most is our attempt to blur the genre lines; Tree places the audience, standing, at the centre of the action – almost like a club, or a gig – and at the same time it takes them on a theatrical journey with a narrative that emotionally engages. We held some workshops with Alfie Enoch earlier this year, and the atmosphere in that room was fascinating. Now that the wonderful Sinead Cusack has joined us, along with a phenomenally talented group of multi-disciplined artists, I cannot wait to get into rehearsals and prepare to bring that infectious energy to audiences at MIF and the Young Vic later this year.”


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

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