Holy Contract is an independent and experimental theater production. The piece explores alternative forms of collaboration through the research, conception, design and production of genre-defying performance. By challenging the relationship between art, architecture and theatre.
A collaboration between Theatre4Change and Urban-Think Tank this production presents the real stories of local residents. The script was written during a series of workshops run with the actors in Khayelitsha. Scott-Heron’s work, which often built upon parallels between racial oppression in the United States and South Africa’s Apartheid regime, played a key role during the project’s inception, with existing lyrical content informing and inspiring the creation of new material.
Founded by actor, presenter, writer, and director, Mandisi Sindo (aka Dr Disi), the organisation aims to make theatre accessible to a diverse audience, while prioritising the empowerment of actors living in Khayelitsha by bridging the gap between mainstream theatre and talent in the townships. Inspired by the late poet and musician, Gil Scott-Heron, Holy Contract is set against the backdrop of South Africa’s contemporary urban challenges, tackling themes around social justice and identity politics. Dialogue switches between Xhosa and English.
The production debuted at Makukhanye (meaning ‘let there be light’) Art Room, a ‘shack theatre’ in Khayelitsha.
The play was conceived in part as a form of artistic activism, intended as the first step towards building a new theatre for the community. Learning from the Empower Shack project, research into the existing urban arrangement and planned redevelopment of the neighbouring Site B Market Stalls will be conducted. Thando Mpengezi, founder of Makukhanye Art Room and recently elected council member, is in full support of the proposal. Andrew Todd, who worked on the Young Vic theatre in London, will join the design team and a link to Theatrum Mundi is planned.
Location: Makukhanye Art Room, Cape Town City Hall, Guga S’Thebe Theater
Produced by: Urban-Think Tank and Theater4Change
Directors: Alfredo Brillembourg and Mandisi Sindo
Assistant Director: Mbuelelo Grootboom
Production Manager: Rebecca Looringh van Beeck
Design Team: Amy Rusch, Katharien de Villiers, Stephanie Briers, Simon Wallington
Cast: Khayalethu Anthony, Monwabisi Sophitshi, Thumeka Thongolam Mzayiya, Zanele Azuza Radu, Khayalethu Mofu, Vela Zozo & Gcobani Ngqeshemba
Collaborators: Barbara Guarducci, MANUSA Cooperativa Sociale, Ivan D’ali, Silvia Bavetta, Kate Tiernan, Arne Pohlmeier, Martin Andersson, Nadine Schütz, Skye Russell, Simon Kohler feat. KALATA, Kurt Orderson, Aré van Schalkwyk, Rese Boshoff, Russell Smith Photography, Gina Levy
Sponsor: Swiss Arts Council ProHelvetia