Performers from Newcastle have joined forces with actors from a city with the same name more than 6000 miles away to write and perform a unique stage show.
Curious Monkey, based in Newcastle city centre, are collaborating with Newcastle Arts Development Organisation, based in the KwaZulu-Natal district of South Africa.
The two companies have co-written and produced ‘This World Here…Nomhlaba Le’, to be performed at The Exchange in North Shields, on Saturday 26 May, before moving to Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle from 29th -31st May.
Director Amy Golding, from the international award-winning Curious Monkey, said: “It is all about what it is like to be the ‘other’ in a new place, while it also deals with themes of home and belonging.
“Mixed in with the magical story-telling is the actors talking about their own experiences of travelling half way across the world, referring back to the two places that share the same name that they both call home.
“There is a lot of original music that the cast have composed together, which is a mix of traditional Geordie and Zulu music. It is a really original piece, and we can’t wait to show it to the public!”
Sphe Mzimela, 35, from Newcastle in South Africa, said: “This is the first time performing over here, and we are all so excited about it. We are working across races and across countries. It is an epic thing.
“Since I have been here I have learned a lot from the people I have met and enjoyed finding out about the history of this part of England. It is an amazing place and I am so happy to be here.”
The two groups met at National Arts Festival of South Africa in 2015 in Grahamstown, South Africa, and decided they had to find a way of working together.
Three years later and seven performers from the respective groups are finally performing together for the first time, with the show billed as a ‘journey to a new world full of song and discovery’.
Sphe added: “When we encountered this other group from a place called Newcastle we couldn’t believe it. We started talking and said how great it would be if we could perform together. One thing led to another and the rest is history.”
The show was commissioned in 2016 as the flagship cultural project of ‘Newcastles of the World’, supported by International Newcastle.
There have been visits back and forth between the two countries, building up to the highly-anticipated performances in the North East.
Karen Knox, Artistic Director at The Exchange, added: “We are all about giving artists a chance to show what they can do in our fabulous venue, and we are so pleased to be able to give these two groups a place to perform together.
“I have seen them in rehearsals and they are putting something together very special. It should be a dazzling event.”
Tickets for the show, which cost £6, are available here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/theexchange. The show is suitable for 14+.
For more information on The Exchange, including forthcoming acts and volunteering opportunities, head to http://www.attheexchange.info or check them on Facebook and Twitter at @attheexchange.