South African narrative comes to Hull Truck Theatre

Published: Thursday 31st August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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The Suitcase launches this evening at Hull Truck Theatre and runs until Saturday 9 September. We caught up with the show’s director, James Ngcobo, to find out more.

The thought-provoking play coincides with the tenth Freedom Festival and follows the story of a young newly married couple in South Africa during the 1950s.

“From the second I finished reading The Suitcase, I knew immediately that there was a need to adapt this short story and turn it into a theatrical piece,” James tells us. “I was moved by its universality; it’s a piece about a man who is desperate to change his life and his fortunes so that he can provide for his beloved wife.”

Produced by The Market Theatre, The Suitcase promises to bring the story of South Africa to the UK.

“The Market Theatre is this iconic venue that has always been the most visible of all theatre spaces in the country,” James, Artistic Director of The Market Theatre, enthuses.

“It is the theatre that introduced the South African narrative to the world. The Market Theatre is and always has been the voice of the people – there is no other theatre in the country that goes out of its way to make sure that it absolutely synchronises with the pulse of the country.”

The most exciting part is that The Suitcase will premier at Hull Truck Theatre:

“The tour is happening this year all because of the buckets of passion that Mark Babych, Artistic Director at Hull Truck Theatre, has brought to the idea of a piece from South Africa coming to Hull on such a landmark year for the city,” explains James.

“We started talking and dreaming about this with Mark, I came over to visit Hull, to see the theatre, to meet his exciting team and to map out a way to make this possible. Mark then came over to South Africa, he went to Grahamstown Festival and watched a lot of what we make out here.”

The play is based on a true story and takes inspiration from Es’kia Mphahlele, one of South Africa’s greatest authors.

“We are looking forward to bringing the story by the prolific Professor Es’kia Mphahlele to Hull and the Northern tour after that,” gushes James. “This visit is the gateway to the beginning of a relationship with Hull Truck Theatre, a relationship that will carry on past this tour.”

Whilst the play heavily focuses on South Africa and its culture, James maintains that anyone and everyone will be able to relate to its charming plot:

The Suitcase is a universal tale of a man who wants to change his life. A man walking with a dream and how the obsession with this dream changes his life. Whenever we perform this piece, people have always said that there are clear parallels with their own lives when they witness how Timi’s life unfolds.”

The Suitcase will be at Hull Truck Theatre until Saturday 9 September. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 01482 323638, or you can book online. 

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Published: Thursday 31st August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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