Two award-winning young directors at Young Vic

This year’s Genesis Future Directors Award winner Matthew Xia and James Menzies-Kitchin Award (JMK) Award winner Alex Brown will direct Fugard’s two classic plays, Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island, at the Young Vic's Clare Studio.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead, by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, from 18 to 28 Sep 2013. Directed by Matthew Xia, designed by Hyemi Shin. Exposes the struggle for freedom and identity in apartheid-era South Africa, unravelling the brutal absurdities of everyday life under oppression. It’s 1972 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and Sizwe Banzi’s passbook gives him just three days to find work. No work and he’ll be deported. That was four days ago. So when Sizwe stumbles across a dead body with a passbook, he asks himself – does his identity card really define who he is? Can he give up his family and his name in order to survive?

The Island, by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, from 7 to 30 Nov 2013. Directed by Alex Brown, designed by Holly Pigott, lighting by Richard Howell. Inspired by true stories from South Africa’s notorious Robben Island, the prison Nelson Mandela was held in for 27 years. John and Winston, imprisoned for their opposition to apartheid, rehearse a performance of Antigone for their cellmates. They share hopes and dreams, strengthening each other’s spirits in the face of brutal oppression. Then John’s sentence is reduced. He prepares to walk free. How will Winston survive without him?

The Genesis Foundation is a UK-based charity established in 2001 by John Studzinski. It nurtures and develops artistic excellence in collaboration with leading organisations working in the fields of music, theatre, dance and the visual arts by funding specially created programmes that support young directors, playwrights and choral singers.

The JMK Trust, now in its 16th year, was set up to commemorate the visionary young director James Menzies- Kitchin, whose career was cut short by his sudden death at the age of 28. Applicants must be under 30, have directed no more than two professional productions and must apply to direct a ‘classic text’. The award affords the practical benefits of a production budget, mentoring and support, alongside the opportunity to show work to both the industry and the discerning London audience.

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