Elba to stage musical about S Africa after Mandela


Idris Elba has created a musical about life in South Africa after the death of Nelson Mandela which is to premiere at a festival in Manchester next year.

Elba, who played the former South African president in film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, has co-created the show called Tree with Kwame Kwei-Armah, the artistic director of London's Young Vic.

The work, which features music, dance and film, will be performed at the Manchester International Festival (MIF) in July.

Image: The former leader of South Africa died in 2013

Performances by Yoko Ono and grime artist Skepta have also been announced for the festival.

Elba, 46, said he and Kwei-Armah, who have known each other since their 20s, used his album Mi Mandela as a starting point.

Elba said: "We've both experienced personal moments of healing connected with the country and we're starting to explore that together.

Elba with Mr Mandela's second wife  Winnie Madikizela Mandela in 2013
Image: Elba with Mr Mandela's second wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, in 2013

"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."

Kwei-Armah added: "The idea of dancing with a friend whose art and ideas have inspired me for as long as we have known each other simply thrills me."

The festival will be opened by John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, who will invite people to gather in Manchester's Cathedral Gardens for event Bells For Peace.

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The performance will see thousands of diverse voices and a people's orchestra of bells ring out for peace.

MIF members can buy tickets now, with general tickets on sale at 10am on 1 November.

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