The major world-premiere production of Tree, created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah will blend live music, dance and film to explore the past, present and future of a contemporary South Africa. Set in the round within the atmospheric Upper Campfield Market Hall, the dynamic cast will tell the story of a country at a crossroads through the eyes of one young man.
Kaleo has grown up in London as the child of South African parents. His parents’ homeland is just 12 hours away, yet to Kaleo it feels like a completely different world. A sudden tragedy in his family forces Kaleo to visit South Africa for the first time. The apartheid has ended, but the country is still dealing with the aftermath. Kaleo enters into a journey to uncover his own past as a means to confront his future. But first he has to deal with the present – a fractured family, fighting to hold on to what they believe is theirs – and a nation dealing with the hangover of its own turbulent past.
Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, the dynamic new Artistic Director of London’s Young Vic, Tree takes audiences on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and the spirit of contemporary South Africa. This electrifying new work, exploring identity, family and belonging, will place the audience right at the centre of the action.
Of this exciting collaboration, Idris Elba said “Kwame and I have both had a strong desire to work with each other for a long time now; we’ve both experienced personal moments of healing connected with the country and we’re starting to explore that together. For me, an interesting part of the process is looking at the next part of the story; the new universe that sprung up after Mandela. To be able to investigate that with Kwame, a writer with such tremendous vision for whom I have great respect and love, and within the artistic community of MIF, is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.”