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Sizwe Banzi Is Dead

Sizwe Banzi Is Dead

Young Vic studio sees successful returns

Published 19 November 2013

Following a sell-out autumn run, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead will return to the Young Vic’s Maria studio next year to play as part of a season that also includes a poignant new drama about war-torn Syria and the return of Belarus Free Theatre.

Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, which first played in the Young Vic’s smaller studio space The Clare earlier this autumn, tells the story of a man who faces deportation in apartheid-era South Africa. The original Young Vic cast members Sibusiso Mamba and Tonderai Munyevu will reprise their roles as the story’s protagonist Sizwe Banzi and Styles/Buntu.

Playing from 6 February to 1 March, Athol Fugard’s momentous play marks a huge success for Genesis Future Directors Award winner Matthew Xia, who made his Young Vic directing debut with the production which sold out even before it commenced performances in this, its 40th anniversary year.

Continuing the theme of home and belonging, playwright and director Amir Nizar Zuabi returns to the Young Vic following The Beloved and I Am Yusuf And This Is My Brother with the powerful story of one woman’s journey back to Syria as she searches for a lost love amidst war and bloody violence.

Conceived and performed by Corinne Jaber, the production will play from 9 April to 3 May and tell the real stories of people affected by the Syrian conflict; the people continuing to live with the threat of bombs, those narrowly escaping crossfire or living in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan, where Nizar Zuabi and Jaber travelled to research the piece.

Concluding the line-up in the acclaimed venue’s Maria space is Red Forest from 12 June to 5 July, a timely reminder of the vulnerability of all of humankind from Young Vic regular collaborators and Associate Artists Belarus Free Theatre.

Facing oppression and censorship in its own country, Belarus Free Theatre has found a London home at the Young Vic, presenting boundary-breaking shows including Trash Cuisine and Minsk 2011: A Reply To Kathy Acker at the venue. This new production continues the bold company’s remit to tell the stories of the repressed, weaving together true stories from across the globe where ecology and human life are equally in danger.

Commissioned as part of 2014’s LIFT Festival, Mark Ball, Artistic Director of the annual international event, commented: “We’ve commissioned Red Forest because on our own travels around the world we see the real effects that climate change and man-made environmental disaster has had on some of the most vulnerable and powerless people on the planet. Their voices are ignored by politicians and the media; we’re proud to be associated with a company determined to make these stories visible.”

David Lan, Artistic Director of the Young Vic, echoed this statement, describing the entire Maria season as telling “stories of real people behind the headlines from all over the world… Stories that remind us – as Bertrand Russell put it – to ‘remember your humanity and forget everything else’.”

As part of the forthcoming season, the Young Vic has also announced the return of another regular collaborator, multi-media artist and stage designer Jeremy Herbert, who will follow his work on Young Vic productions of Hamlet and The Glass Menagerie to present Safe House, a sensory installation in The Clare space from 26 April to 17 May described as combining the everyday with the sublime.


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