The U.S. Mission to South Africa is pleased to announce its support, through a grant of $100,000 (R1.4 mil), for the production of Paradise Blue at the Market Theatre, January 31 – March 1, 2020. To commemorate Black History Month, recognized each year in February, the U.S. Mission has partnered with the Market Theatre in Johannesburg to deliver high impact and thought-provoking theater to South African audiences. This year marks the fifth anniversary of this collaboration, initiated by the Market Theatre’s Artistic Director, James Ngcobo, in 2016.
Paradise Blue is a dynamic and jazz-infused drama by award-winning African American playwright Dominique Morisseau about what’s at stake when building a better future. The play captures the yearning of individuals sidelined by life into the role of second-class citizens living and working in a black neighbourhood on the cusp of obliteration as part of the city’s plan to eliminate “blight.” The characters face issues that will resonate with South African audiences and enlighten them to the similar struggles faced by low-income inner-city communities.
The Market Theatre’s production of Paradise Blue features a stellar cast of leading South African actors with Aubrey Poo in the leading role of Blue, supported by a strong cast of Pakamisa Zwedala and Seneliso Dladla as his fellow band members P-Sam and Corn. Busisiwe Lurayi will play the naïve Pumpkin and Lesedi Job the threatening Silver.
U.S. Ambassador Lana Marks said, “We are tremendously pleased to honor Black History Month with this production of Paradise Blue. I am thrilled to be here during the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Mission’s collaboration with Market Theatre. I look forward to seeing this compelling and difficult story of the effects of gentrification come to life under the confident direction of James Ngcobo, and I think that South Africans will see an echo of their own struggles in this American story.”
Performances will take place through March 1, 2020, in the John Kani Theatre at the Market Theatre, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20:00 and Sundays at 15:00.
Funding for this project is a part of U.S. Mission’s ongoing support for educational and cultural exchange programs in South Africa. These programs, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, promote dialogue and encourage mutual understanding between Americans and South Africans. For more information about U.S. Embassy and Consulate educational exchange programs, please visit: