A Young Vic and Isango Ensemble Production co-produced by The Royal Opera, Répons Foundation, BAM and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

The Royal Opera presents A Man of Good Hope for the first time in the Linbury Theatre. A Man of Good Hope is based on the book of the same name by Jonny Steinberg, which tells the true story of a young refugee’s journey through Africa. Directed by Mark Dornford-May, Artistic Director of the award-winning South African theatre company Isango Ensemble, A Man of Good Hope received its world premiere in March 2016 in Cape Town. The Royal Opera and the Young Vic collaborated for the first time with a new stage adaptation which received its UK premiere at the Young Vic in October 2016 and is now seen for the first time in the Linbury Theatre.

Asad Abdullahi is eight years old when his mother is murdered in front of him. He flees war-torn Mogadishu and journeys through Africa in search of a better life, eventually finding his way to the outskirts of Johannesburg – but his troubles don’t stop there.

Isango re-creates Asad’s journey through a colourful score drawn from music of different African traditions; its cast of artists, from different stages in their careers, tell Asad’s moving story of unfailing hope in the face of incredible odds.

The conductor is Mandisi Dyantyis, musical direction is by Mandisi Dyantyis and Paulina Malefane, movement is by Lungelo Ngamlana and lighting design is by Mannie Manim, relit by Chloe Kenward. The work is largely through-composed, and the music features marimbas and singing from a 23-strong ensemble. Isango Ensemble is made up of both classically trained and untrained singers from the townships surrounding Cape Town.

South African company Isango Ensemble, based in Cape Town, was founded in 2000 by Mark Dornford-May and Paulina Malefane. Their productions have toured the world, winning numerous awards. Past collaborations with Young Vic and its former artistic director David Lan include The Magic Flute (Impempe Yomlingo), which won an Olivier Award and transferred to the West End, and Christmas Carol (Ikrismas Kherol) which won a Theatregoers Choice Award.

Isango Ensemble alternates performances of A Man of Good Hope with SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill.

A Man of Good Hope opens at the Royal Opera House on 16 April 2019.


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