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RAGNAROCK & THOKOLATHEMBA (article first published : 2002-06-28)

Having celebrated its ten year presence in South Africa in April, the Danish Cultural Institute now supports Umgcagco – Bryllup (The Wedding) which is an international collaboration of youth theatre companies. Ragnarock theatre group from Humlebæk, a coastal city in Copenhagen, and Thokolathemba from Ntuzuma, KZN, have come together under the guidance of partners LeftfeetFIRST, the Natal University’s Development Foundation and The Ikhwezi Centre for Education.

This bi-lateral cultural exchange will culminate in a unique performance Umgcagco – Bryllup (The Wedding) which has both companies working separately on one script from the viewpoint of each of their respective countries. The Danish artistic director Signe Gravlund Thomsen, Ragnarock’s director Joachim Clausen and the South African team of writer/director Maketanga Mbanjwa and arts consultant Gerard Samuel have been preparing for the work for over three years.

The two full groups come together for the first time in early July to stitch together the careful plans made during the collaboration since 1998. The groups will tour to schools and community centres (Newcastle, Hluhluwe) across KZN offering mutual workshops, and cultural exchanges. Performance venues include the KwaMashu cinema and the KwaDuguza (Stanger) town hall. “We hope to bring a carnival street party feel to our visits”, said an enthusiastic Thomsen.

‘The exploration of universal themes such as xenophobia, racism and adolescence, as Zulu boy meets Danish girl, underscores this playful modern-day Romeo and Juliet story’, says Samuel. Audiences can expect this often-humorous tale with original music, vibrant dancing and costumes to delight both young and old.

The one and a half hour performances of Umgcagco – Bryllup at The Playhouse will be held in The Grand Foyer on July 9 (10h30 and 14h30) and on July 10 (10h30, 14h30 and 19h00). Tickets R25 (R15 children) can be obtained at the door one hour before show time. Special discounted rates of 10% for block bookings of 20 or more.

A limited number of performances in Danish (exclusively by Ragnarock) of Vølven, which is based on the mythological Nordic figure, will also tour in KZN. More details from Gerard Samuel on 083 767 0060 / 031- 201 2826 during office hours or via e-mail gmsamuel@mweb.co.za




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