Actor, Idris Elba and Young Vic’s Kwame Kwei-Armah are collaborating on a stage show about life in South Africa after the death of Nelson Mandela. The play will premiere at Manchester International Festival as a part of next year’s MIF programme, which runs from 4-21 July 2019.
Tree takes audiences on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa. Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, the new Artistic Director of London’s Young Vic, this major world-premiere production takes place in the round within Upper Campfield Market Hall, one of Manchester’s most atmospheric spaces.
Idris and Kwame’s new work features music, dance and film combined with an exciting and dynamic cast to explore the past, present and future of a country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.
Idris Elba said “Kwame and I have both had a strong desire to work with each other for a long time now; we’ve known each other since we were in our very early twenties and have talked about the kernel of an idea for this show for a while. Our joint ambition being to make a piece of work inspired by South Africa, using the album Mi Mandela as a starting point.
“We’ve both experienced personal moments of healing connected with the country and we’re starting to explore that together. For me, an interesting part of the process is looking at the next part of the story; the new universe that sprung up after Mandela. To be able to investigate that with Kwame, a writer with such tremendous vision for whom I have great respect and love, and within the artistic community of MIF, is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.”