Intro - Mark and Jill's South Africa trip

Intro - Mark and Jill's South Africa trip

Few places are more synonymous with the idea of freedom than South Africa. Performance has been shaped by apartheid as much as any other area of society, but it’s now breaking away from the past and looking towards the future. Young theatre makers born since the end of apartheid are the first generation of artists who are truly free, both socially and artistically. It’s an exciting time for Hull Truck Theatre to meet them to talk about long lasting relationships and cultural exchange in the lead up to Hull 2017 and particularly to research cultural resonances for the Freedom Season (July – September 2017).

One of the first organisations Jill and I are visiting is the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. It was formed in the late 1970s by Mannie Manim and the late Barney Simon, and became known around the world as the ‘Theatre of the Struggle’. The performances they made challenged the apartheid regime and dared to stand up against social injustice. It’s the perfect place for us to start our cultural tour – a place where brave, revolutionary and radical performances continue to be made.

This trip has personal resonance for me in particular. The apartheid-era play The Island by Athol Fugard sparked my interest in theatre directing and I have always wanted to visit the country which inspired it.