Derby Theatre. The Suitcase. (touring)

The Suitcase by The Market Theatre Johannesburg is one of East Midlands Theatre’s most looked forward to shows coming to Derby Theatre Weds 20th September to Sat 23rd September 2017.



It’s 1950s South Africa. A young newly married couple leave their rural village and disapproving family, for the city of Durban. Their goal is to return home, rich and free.

But, alienated in the city, unemployed and poor, Timi starts to lose his moral compass. Desperate to provide for his pregnant wife he steals a suitcase left on a bus not knowing what might be inside; an act which brings frightening consequences, dramatic twists and unexpected turns.

Based on a true story, The Suitcase, has been nominated in the New Director category in the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards for The Rosalie van der Gucht Prize. Director James Ngcobo saw enormous theatrical potential in this poignant and emotive story and so adapted it for stage. The production – evocative, visual and moving – encompasses African storytelling and lyrical music at its very best.

E`skia Mphahlele is among South Africa’s, greatest writers, thinkers and critics. Respected worldwide as a literary luminary, he has published many short stories, essays and novels dealing with issues of race and South Africa’s changing society.

Hugh Masekela, legendary South African musician, has written the perfect soundtrack to this powerful piece.

Adapted & Directed by James Ngcobo
Short Story by Es’kia Mphahlele
Featuring Live Music composed and written by Hugh Masekela

The Suitcase is presented in its UK Premiere by five partner theatres across the North and funded by the National Lottery and Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund. Hull Truck Theatre, Northern Stage, Derby Theatre, Lancaster Dukes and Liverpool Playhouse are delighted to be bringing this extraordinary production across from South Africa, and to be working so closely with The Market Theatre, which has long been celebrated for the part it played in bringing people together and foregrounding story and human strength during Apartheid.

This tour is a celebration of the lives of cities, communities and artists coming together from across the world.

The Market Theatre was founded in Johannesburg in 1976 by Mannie Manim and the late playwright Barney Simon. Known internationally as the ‘Theatre of the Struggle’, the Market Theatre challenged the Apartheid regime and dared to stand up against social injustice, acting as a powerful voice for freedom and emancipation. Over the past four decades, the theatre has evolved into a cultural complex for performance, music, dance and the allied arts. Today, the Market Theatre continues to be engaging, challenging and entertaining.



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