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A Man Of Good Hope

Based on the book by Jonny Steinberg.  Adapted by Isango Ensemble   

Music composed by Mandisi Dyantyis with the Ensemble 

A Young Vic and Isango Ensemble Production

Co-produced by The Royal Opera, Repons, BAM and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg


An exhilarating piece of music theatre, bursting with life, by the award-winning Isango Ensemble 

This epic story, traversing the African continent, unfolds with joyous ensemble singing and roof-raising marimba, djembe drum and dance   



Asad is a young Somalian refugee with a painful past, a brilliant head for business and miraculously good luck. After years in a refugee camp, then learning to hustle on the streets of Ethiopia, he sets off for the promised land of South Africa. But dreams and reality are very different. Once he has arrived in the townships, his adventures really begin.

Based on interviews with the real-life Asad Abdullahi, Jonny Steinberg’s 2015 book, A Man of Good Hope is much more than the simple biography of a lonely young migrant who longs for a decent life. This is truly exhilarating theatre, bursting with life, a full-blooded hymn to that most fragile of human qualities: hope. Part play, part opera and part musical, Asad’s story unfolds with joyous ensemble singing and roof-raising marimba, djembe drum and percussion sound. A 25-strong company delivers the story with incredible dynamism, delight and irresistible South African style.

A Man of Good Hope is a co-production between London’s powerhouse Young Vic Theatre and internationally acclaimed Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble together with Royal Opera, Répons Foundation, BAM and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. Isango founded in 2000 by Mark Dornford-May and Pauline Malefane and drawing its performers from the previously disadvantaged townships surrounding the city, creates performances with a strong South African flavour by re-imagining Western theatre classics within a South African setting and by creating new work reflecting South African heritage. Isango has won international fame for its adaptations of The Mysteries and classic operas such as the Golden Bear-winning feature film uCarmen eKhayelitsha and Olivier Award-winning The Magic Flute (Impempe Yomlingo), in a contemporary South African township setting.       






Mark Dornford-May

Music Direction 


Mandisi Dyantyis & Pauline Malefane



Lungelo Ngamlana



Mannie Manim

Speech & Dialogue


Lesley Nott Manim

Lead Producer 


Repons – Executive Producer : Claire Béjanin