Press Release: SALAAM STORIES

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"Theatrical magic"

-- Cape Argus

"Ground-breaking theatre"

--  Cape Times

There is an active intelligence in Johaardien's writing, and he has a sharp ear for the dialogue of the street.

He neatly counterbalances the serious and the humorous ...

-- Independent Online

NZLEE Productions presents Ashalin Singh in Ashraf Johaardien’s award-winning play Salaam stories directed by newcomer Niquita Hartley under the mentorship of Standard Bank Young Artist alumna and Naledi Award-winner Jade Bowers.

Set against the historical backdrop of the Cape slave trade and the Malay diaspora in South Africa, Johaardien’s award-winning play has been performed in London, New York, Amsterdam, Denmark and all over South Africa. Through artful storytelling, the playwright focuses on themes of identity, history and group belonging through an intimately personal lens taking audiences on a journey across the Cape Flats to Robben Island – and then to and from Bombay – back in time, to the 17th century, when the Dutch were at war with the Portuguese. Moving fluidly through multiple timeframes, the writer conjures to life a colourful community of characters from the recesses of memory, history and imagination.

“There have been several incarnations of Salaam stories internationally but it is significant that nobody else has ever been granted the rights to direct, produce or perform this particular version,” comments Jade Bowers, who previously directed the play. “That’s because the solo version of the play has, up to now, only really existed in relation to Ashraf’s own identity as a creative and cultural being.”

Ashalin Singh graduated from Wits University in 2011 as an actor, writer and director. He has performed in a number of stage and television productions, most notably the dramatic series Mishika Shika, John Kani’s production of Othello, Reza de Wet's Diepe grond and Scorched by Wajdi Mouhad.

Niquita Hartley made her debut as a performer at the age of 13 in The guitar that rocked the world by Themi Venturas. She also performed in the original production of Salaam stories at Spier and in subsequent productions of the play at the Baxter Theatre, the University of the Western Cape and the Cape Town Book Fair. The 2019 revival of the play marks her debut as a director.

Jade Bowers is a director and designer who experiments with physical style and conceptual form to make theatre that is fuelled by invention and creativity. She was the winner of the 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre.

Ashraf Johaardien is an award-winning playwright, performer and arts manager. He is the outgoing executive producer of the National Arts Festival and the Cape Town Fringe. He takes up the role of CEO at Business and Arts South Africa in March.

SALAAM STORIES 2019 is presented with support from the National Arts Council of South Africa.

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