UK: Celebration of African theatre and languages at international Shakespeare festival

There are 4 tickets to be won by two readers to take another person to the shows in London. All you have to do is to either post a comment using Facebook on the article, share or like our Facebook Page on the right. Here is another discount – Top price tickets for just £10 (a saving of £25) for any of the five African productions. To claim the tickets call the box office on            020 7401 9919       and quote ‘Shout Africa £10 ticket offer’ or enter the code ‘PCD10BEST’ when booking online at – Dates for the shows for the tickets for the competition are at the end of the article.

Five productions from Africa are travelling to London in 2012 to perform in the prestigious Globe to Globe festival at Shakespeare’s Globe, with companies from South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Venus & Adonis

Venus & Adonis

The unique and much-loved Isango Ensemble from Cape Town kick off the festival with a carnival interpretation of the great narrative poem, Venus and Adonis. Isango have already enchanted audiences in the West End with their reimagining of The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso and The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo. They will bring the same modern African sensibility, brimming over with song and dance, to Shakespeare‘s great story of seduction and loss of innocence.

Isango Ensemble is an internationally renowned South African theatre company that draws its artists from the townships around Cape Town. Its stage productions and films have played to sold out audiences across the world, and it has received numerous international awards.

Winter's Tale - Nigeria

Winter's Tale - Nigeria

Following the Isango Ensemble, the theatre company Bitter Pill will be bringing their version of The Merry Wives of Windsor from Nairobi to London – an exuberant, urban and African take on Shakespeare’s comedy of failed courtship. Full of laughter and fun, this production, celebrating the wit and independence of rural African women, first played at the Harare International Festival of Arts in Zimbabwe, before travelling north to engage with the sun-soaked joys of the Swahili language.

Bitter Pill is an award-winning theatre company working across Europe and Africa. Projects in 2011 range from this production in Swahili on tour in the UK, to a new play based on real Zimbabwean stories which is touring across sub-Saharan Africa (Harare, Joburg, Windhoek and Gaberone).

The third African company to perform are the specially-formed South Sudan Theatre Company, from the world’s newest country, presenting Cymbeline in Juba Arabic. This is the first time a Shakespeare play has been performed in Juba Arabic.

In April 2011, after more than 50 years of violent struggle, the Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest country. In May 2012 that country will participate in its first major international cultural event. The performance will represent an historical moment in the fledgling history of the southern Sudanese nation.

Two Gents Productions, performing The Two Gentlemen of Verona in Shona, is a Zimbabwean theatre company based in London, and founded in February 2008.  It is composed of the actors Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyebvu, and the director Arne Pohlmeier. The company’s aim is to present Shakespeare in new and unfamiliar ways by fusing it with contemporary Zimbabwean performance modes of storytelling, improvisation, mime and dance.

The company members’ individual cultural backgrounds, their experience of migration and audience-centred, physically engaging yet technically minimalist style infuse all Two Gents’ productions. To date the company has presented in London and the UK: Two Gentlemen of Verona, Kupenga Kwa Hamlet and Magetsi. Vakomana Vaviri ve Zimbabwe at Shakespeare’s Globe is the first full length Shona language production.

The final African production within Globe to Globe is Renegade Theatre’s The Winter’s Tale performed in Yoruba; a magical new production of Shakespeare’s late masterpiece informed by Yoruba folk tales.

Two Gents - Zimbabwe

Two Gents - Zimbabwe

The Renegade Theatre initiated the Theatre@Terra project in 2007, where plays were produced twice every Sunday in Lagos without interruption for three-and-a-half years – a feat unparalleled in modern Nigeria.  The company’s patron is the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. Renegade Theatre has been one of Nigeria’s most consistent theatre establishments for more than a decade.  It has presented more than 400 major productions in some of the major venues around the country.

Director Wole Oguntokun returns to the UK having previously been a consultant to the British Council and the National Theatre, London, in the latter’s production of Wole Soyinka’s Death and The King’s Horsemen (2009).  He was selected by the British Council to be part of a Theatre Director’s Residency/Workshop in the United Kingdom in May 2011. He is a protégé of the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka and is widely celebrated in the Nigerian theatre scene.

These productions are part of Globe to Globe – all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 37 different languages in a kaleidoscopic, six week festival at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Tickets for Globe to Globe start at just £5, and a series of multibuy schemes are in place, including the Yard Olympian which will allow you to see all 38 productions for just £100. Globe to Globe is part of the World Shakespeare Festival – a celebration of Shakespeare as the world’s playwright.

For further information on Globe to Globe or tickets please contact Meg Dobson at Shakespeare’s Globe on 020 7902 1482  the box office number – 020 7401 9919, email – or  visit website

Two Gents Productions presents

Two Gentlemen of Verona

From Zimbabwe

Performed in Shona

Wednesday 9 May 2.30pm Thursday 10 May 7.30pm


Renegade Theatre presents

The Winter’s Tale

From Lagos, Nigeria

Performed in Yoruba

Thursday 24 May 2.30pm
Friday 25 May 7.30pm