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Bridging the 6,000 mile gap for show

Performers from Newcastle in the North East and South Africa are coming together for a show in North Shields.
Performers from Newcastle in the North East and South Africa are coming together for a show in North Shields.

Performers from Newcastle are bridging the 6,000-mile gap between them for a special performance in North Shields.

Curious Monkey, based in Newcastle city centre, is collaborating with Newcastle Arts Development Organisation, based in the KwaZulu-Natal district of South Africa.

The two companies have co-written and produced This World Here…Nomhlaba Le, to be performed at The Exchange in North Shields on Saturday, before moving to Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle from May 29 to 31.

Director Amy Golding, of Curious Monkey, said: “It is all about what it is like to be the ‘other’ in a new place, while it also deals with themes of home and belonging.

“Mixed in with the magical story-telling is the actors talking about their own experiences of travelling half way across the world, referring back to the two places that share the same name that they both call home.

“There is a lot of original music that the cast have composed together, which is a mix of traditional Geordie and Zulu music.”

Sphe Mzimela, 35, from Newcastle in South Africa, said: “This is the first time performing over here and we are all so excited about it. We are working across races and across countries.

“Since I have been here I have learned a lot from the people I have met and enjoyed finding out about the history of this part of England. It is an amazing place.”

Tickets for the show are £6, available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/theexchange
The two groups met at the National Arts Festival of South Africa in 2015 in Grahamstown and decided they had to find a way of working together.

Three years later and seven performers from the respective groups are finally performing together for the first time, with the show billed as a “journey to a new world full of song and discovery”.

Karen Knox, artistic director at The Exchange, said: “We are all about giving artists a chance to show what they can do in our fabulous venue, and we are so pleased to be able to give these two groups a place to perform together.

“I have seen them in rehearsals and they are putting something together very special. It should be a dazzling event.”

For more information about The Exchange, including forthcoming acts and volunteering opportunities, visit www.attheexchange.info or check Facebook and Twitter at @attheexchange