FEATURED: Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s ‘Tree’, Young Vic

Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s ‘Tree‘, Young Vic

‘It’s just 12 hours from London to his parents’ homeland, but to Kaleo, South Africa is another world. A family tragedy finally forces him to visit for the first time – and as he takes his journey of healing, Kaleo must confront hidden histories and right the wrongs of the past. But first he must face the present: a shattered family, fighting to hold on to what they believe is theirs, in a nation haunted by the ghosts of its own turbulent past’.

  Manchester International Festival (MIF), the Young Vic and Green Door Pictures today announce the full cast for ‘Tree‘, which will receive its world premiere this July at Manchester International Festival, before transferring to the Young Vic in London.

  Created by Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning Idris Elba and Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, this new collaboration is an exhilarating show about identity, family and belonging, seen through the eyes of one man on the toughest journey of his life. An electrifying blend of drama, music and dance following one man’s journey into the heart and soul of contemporary South Africa, ‘Tree’ places the audience at the centre of the action. 

  The full cast includes Christian Bradley (Merlin); Lucy Briggs-Owen (A Very English Scandal); award-winning actress Sinéad Cusack (King Lear, Duke of York’s Theatre; MotherFatherSon); Kurt Edyiawan (Skyfall); Alfred Enoch (Red, Wyndham’s Theatre; Harry Potter); London-based dancer Anna-Kay Alicia Gayle; Joan Iyiola (The Duchess of Malfi, RSC; Black Earth Rising; Yonderland); Sadler’s Wells young associate Anthony Matsena; dancer Daniella May (stomp, West End); Patrice Naiambana (Barber Shop Chronicles, National Theatre; Spectre, Silent Witness) and dancer and choreographers Mbulelo Ndabeni and Andile Sotiya.

  Director Kwame Kwei-Armah said: “I feel genuinely privileged to be working with this incredible group of actors, dancers and musicians to bring to life our shared vision for Tree, inspired by Idris’s intoxicating Mi Mandela album. As a director and as a producer, what excites me most is our attempt to blur the genre lines; Tree places the audience, standing, at the centre of the action – almost like a club, or a gig – and at the same time it takes them on a theatrical journey with a narrative that emotionally engages. We held some workshops with Alfie Enoch earlier this year, and the atmosphere in that room was fascinating. Now that the wonderful Sinead Cusack has joined us, along with a phenomenally talented group of multi-disciplined artists, I cannot wait to get into rehearsals and prepare to bring that infectious energy to audiences at MIF and the Young Vic later this year.”

  A Manchester International Festival, Young Vic and Green Door Pictures co-production, in association with Eleanor Lloyd Productions, Bob Benton for Anthology Theatre, Eilene Davidson and Dawn Smalberg for Ragovoy Entertainment, the production will feature set and costume design by Jon Bausor, choreography by Gregory Maqoma, lighting design by Jon Clark, sound design by Paul Arditti, video design by Duncan McLean, music supervision by composer Michael Asante, dramaturg by Mongiwekhaya and casting by Pippa Ailion CDG. The production will feature music inspired by Elba’s album ‘Mi Mandela‘.

  ‘Tree’ will run at Upper Campfield Market Hall from 4th to 13th July, before its run at the Young Vic from 29th July to 24th August.


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