The South African premiere of the acclaimed new William Kentridge theatre work, The Head & the Load, is supported by RMB and FNB and comes to Joburg Theatre following its World Premiere at Tate Modern, with music composed and conceived by Philip Miller.
William Kentridge’s large-scale theatre work The Head & the Load will be seen for the first time in Africa at Joburg Theatre from 6 – 14 August 2020 for ten performances only.
After a resounding opening at the Tate Modern in London in 2018 followed by sold-out shows in New York, Amsterdam and Germany, William Kentridge now brings The Head & the Load back home to South Africa. This internationally acclaimed exploration of Africa’s role in the First World War illuminates the untold story of the millions of black African porters who served — and in many cases died for — British, French and German battlefield forces. A play on the Ghanaian proverb “The head and the load are the troubles of the neck,” the historical significance of their crucial role in the conflict has remained largely unexamined for a century.
This exceptionally ambitious production runs across a purpose-built stage stretching 50 metres along the back of the Nelson Mandela Theatre with an intimate seating configuration for approximately 500 audience members. Featuring 38 performers, including actors Hamilton Dlamini, Nhlanhla Mahlangu, Mncedisi Shabangu, and Luc De Wit with vocalists Ann Masina and Joanna Dudley, The Head & the Load vividly brings history to life through a combination of music, text, dance, film projections, mechanized sculptures and shadow play.
It has been described by the international press as ‘A fiercely beautiful historical pageant’ (New York Times – Critics pick), ‘a masterpiece’ (★★★★★ London Evening Standard) and ‘electrifying’ (★★★★★ The Independent).
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