SS Mendi Dancing the Death Drill

Most had never seen the sea, many couldn’t swim, few returned - At NST City

29 June, 2018 - 14 July, 2018

  • wheelchair access
  • signed perfomance
  • hearing enhancement
  • audio description
  • assistance dogs
BOOK TICKETS

A Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Isango Ensemble and Hackney Empire co-production co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Repons Foundation, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Hackney Empire.

The world première of 

SS MENDI

DANCING THE DEATH DRILL

Based on the book by Fred Khumalo

Adapted by Gbolohan Obisesan and Isango Ensemble

Directed by Mark Dornford-May

 

Friday 29th June - Saturday 14th July

At NST City

Panel Discussion: 11 Jul 17:30

Audio Described: 14 Jul 14:30

Most had never seen the sea, many couldn’t swim, few returned.

January 1917, 823 South African men board the SS Mendi in Cape Town, volunteers for the British Army bound for the Western Front. Through a tragic twist of fate, Pitso Motaung finds himself aboard.

Heavy pre-dawn fog shrouds the impending disaster. The collision comes with such force that the SS Mendi sinks in minutes. By the time rescue arrives, it is too late for most. Paris, 1958. Two men are dead in a restaurant, attacked by the head waiter Pitso Motaung. Dark memories etched in Pitso’s mind are resurfacing decades later to devastating effect.

Dubbed the ‘Black Titanic’, the sinking of SS Mendi was one of the worst maritime disasters in the 20th century in UK waters. Yet, a startling story of hope and courage emerges. Brought to life with live music by the critically acclaimed Cape Town based Isango Ensemble and part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s Arts Programme for the First World War Centenary.

Creatives

Fred Khumalo

Author

Gbolahan Obisesan

Adaptor

Isango Ensemble

Adaptor

Mark Dornford-May

Director