Geoff Hyland gives an African twist to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

Geoff Hyland gives an African twist to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

Artscape Theatre in association with The Maynardville Theatre Trust and The City of Cape Town are presenting an adaptation of the romantic Shakespearean comedy, ‘Twelfth Night’. Starring David Johnson and Elizabeth Akudugu, this African inspired version is directed by Geoffrey Hyland and is on at Maynardville’s Open–Air Theatre until February 25.

On the imagined island of Illyria, off the coast of Africa, a fresh take on Shakespeare’s unfading classic comes to life as the shipwrecked twins, Viola and Sebastian, cause mayhem with the locals.

‘Twelfth Night’, known as a ‘Feast of Fools’ and a time for the ‘Lords of misrule’ to create general mischief, anarchy and the exorcising of evil spirits, borrows its title from the Christmas festivities known as Epiphany and was celebrated with excessive, rampant activity during the Elizabethan era. ‘Twelfth Night’ explores themes such as illusion and disguise to madness and deception and challenges our ideal expectations and perceptions of love.

It boasts a stellar cast, with a mix of up-and-coming talents and television veterans, to award-winning achievers and aspiring directors. David Johnson stars as the love-sick Orsino, and is no stranger to Shakespeare having appeared in ‘Hamlet’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.

Joining Johnson as his apparent love interest, Olivia, is the Golden Globe winning actress, Elizabeth Akudugu. Awarded in 2015 for her supporting role as Mimi in the film remake of the hit musical, ‘Rent’, Akudugu has also been recognised at the 2015 Bafta’s and Daytime Emmy’s for Best Direction in ‘Like a Star’.

Lamla Ntsaluba and Awethu Hleli play Sebastian and Viola respectively.

The support cast includes Mark Elderkin as the puritanical Malvolio, Nicholas Pauling as the opportunistic uncle, Sir Toby and Wessel Pretorius as the witty clown Feste.

Directed by the award winning and innovative, Geoffrey Hyland, currently Associate Professor and Head of UCT’s Drama Department, Hyland is also known for his unique adaptations of several Shakespearean productions including ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Othello’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘King Lear’. The creative team includes set design by Nicolas Mayer, costume design by Leigh Bishop, lighting design by Luke Ellenbogen with sound design by Liam Cookson.

‘Twelfth Night’ features a completely original score by the eclectic, afro-classical composer, Neo Muyanga.


* Tickets are available at Artscape Box Office on 021 410 9838, Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7695 and and prices range from R108 to R180. School discounts are available at R80 per student via the Box Office Manager.