SOPHIATOWN

Based on a true prank in which Nat Nasaka and Lewis Nkosi had advertised in Drum magazine for a Jewish girl to come and stay with them in Sophiatown. The play deals with the “what if” of this situation, and setting it in a household representative of a spectrum of township dwellers, a microcosm of the Sophiatown milieu of the 1950s as seen from the perspective of the 1980s.

First performed at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg on 18 February 1986, and a Junction Avenue Theatre Company production directed by Malcolm Purkey, with sets designed by Sarah Roberts and William Kentridge and poster by Kentridge.

The play quickly transferred to the Grahamstown Festival and went on to a phenomenally successful run over the next number of years, winning numerous awards and touring internationally. Despite the violence and poverty, Sophiatown was a legendary black cultural hub and the epicentre of politics, jazz and blues. It symbolized a society that allowed a freedom of action, association and expression, where people lived together in harmony, undivided by race or colour.

The very existence of Sophiatown as a `mixed` suburb was in direct contradiction to the apartheid policy of geographically separating people according to their colour. Its heyday finally ended when the authorities deliberately tore the area apart. Sophiatown is a play with music by The Junction Avenue Theatre Company. An influential workshop play about the famous freehold area in Johannesburg, devised by director Malcolm Purkey and the cast.

Venue: Market Theatre
Dates: 7 – 17th April