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For Immediate Release                                 
4 April 2017 

‘Sophiatown’, the revival only at The State Theatre
Fans of the acclaimed musical ‘Sophiatown’ can reminisce at the South African State Theatre during lively evening shows from 10th April to 13 May!  The State Theatre will also be the only theatre showing Sophiatown for school set-works this year which can be booked during weekday matinees.
This memorable musical has been revived with a fresh, new, young cast to delight today’s audiences with its timeless music, under the experienced eye of the State Theatre’s multi-award winning Artistic Director, Aubrey Sekhabi. It features a stellar cast including, Thabiso Tshabalala as Jakes, Caitlin Clerk as Ruth, Terrence Ignacious Ngwila as Mingus, Kenneth Mlambo as Fahfee, Simphiwe Ndlovu as Princess, Madge Kola as Mamariti, Zamah Ngubane as Lulu, and Bongani Masango as Charlie. 
This revived version of Sophiatown was first staged last year at the same time as the Market Theatre was staging a version directed by Malcom Purkey of Junction Avenue Theatre Company. Sekhabi was one of Purkey’s students when he acquired his Dramatic Arts Honours degree in 1991 at Witwaterand University. Little did he know he would be directing the work of his former lecture on a national stage today!  Purkey was amazed by Sekhabi’s version of the play when he attended the performance last year. “I have been directing this play for so many years and watched many versions, and I have never seen anything like this one. I am too old, I don’t have to do this production anymore, it is in beautiful and better hands,” said Purkey.
‘Sophiatown’ is an imaginative reconstruction of an extraordinary story of journalists who set up a house together and advertised for another housemate to come and live with them. Despite the apartheid legislation of those days, they managed to obtain permission for a white Jewish woman to move in. This character was Ruth Golden (from Yeoville), who turned up with a suitcase on the Sophiatown doorstep of an explosive journalist, Jakes. The challenge was integration. 
The play is interspersed throughout with a’capella harmony and original songs from the period about Sophiatown, or Kofifi as it was fondly known. 
Despite the violence and poverty, Sophiatown was a legendary cultural hub and the epicenter of politics, jazz and blues. It symbolised a society that allowed a freedom of action, association and expression, where people lived together in harmony, undivided by race or color. The very existence of Sophiatown as a ‘mixed’ suburb was in direct contradiction to the apartheid policy of geographically separating people according to their color. Its heyday finally ended when the authorities deliberately tore the area apart. 
Sophiatown came to be known as the ‘Chicago of South Africa’, a place where shebeen queens, gangsters, politicians and black and white ‘Bohemians’ rubbed shoulders and traded drinks in a heady atmosphere fizzing with music, style and rebellion. This vibrant community produced some of South Africa’s most famous musicians, artists, writers, journalists and politicians as urban African culture formed here during the repressive 1940s and 1950s.
Sekhabi’s is known for his directing works such as ‘Kalushi -The Story of Solomon Mahlangu,’ Rivonia Trial, Silent Voices, Marikana- The Musical, and the new ‘Freedom’ musical, to name just a few. In 2015 his two plays Hungry and MARIKANA received unprecedented 18 Naledi Theatre Awards Nominations, of which he won six awards for MARIKANA- the Musical. His productions have been nominated more than sixty times and he has won numerous awards along the way. 
Sophiatown will open in grand “Kofifi” style on the 13th of April and run until 13th May. Tickets can be purchased at Computicket for R110 and R100 for students. For group bookings, people can contact State Theatre Sales office on 012 392 4000.
ENDS

For Sophiatown Musical
Aubrey Sekhabi (Director)
Zakhele Mabena (Musical Director)
Bafikile Sedibe (Choreographer)
Mandla Mtshali (Lighting Designer)
Lungile Cindi (Costume and Set Designer)
Irene Mathe (Senior Stage Manager and Costume Designer) 
Busisiwe Masemola (Costume Coordinator/ Dresser)
Kea Moeketsane (Assistant Director)
Joseph Mogale (Assitant Stage Manager)
Performers: Thabiso Tshabalala (Jakes); Caitlin Clerk (Ruth); Terrence Ignacious Ngwila (Mingus); Kenneth Mlambo as (Fahfee); Simphiwe Ndlovu (Princess); Madge Kola (Mamariti); Zamah Ngubane (Lulu); Bongani Masango (Charlie).

Dates: 10th April – 13 May 2018
Previews: 10th, 11th and 12th April 2018
Opening Night: 13 April 2018
Venue: Arena Theatre @State Theatre.
Tickets: R100 (Students) General (R110).
Duration: 1:30
Age Restriction: No under 13s

For more information on the Bios/Profile, Pictures, interview requests, and media accreditation please contact Public Relation at State Theatre on the following details; 

Alexandra Bouwer (PR and Marketing Manager) 
Cell: 0828090992 
Tel: 012 392 4000 
E-Mail: Thakgatso@statetheatre.co.za
Thakgatso Setseta (Junior PR Officer)
Cell: 0788233596 
Tel: 012 392 4045 
E-Mail: Thakgatso@statetheatre.co.za

Editors Notes
Images: please credit Sanmari Marais
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