The Promise -stage adaption of Damon Galgut’s book

When and where:  

~ Cape Town:

September 14 to October 6, 2023 – at The Star Theatre at the Homecoming Centre in Cape Town (formerly The Fugard Theatre)

~ Johannesburg:

October 18 to November 5, 2023, The John Kani stage at The Market Theatre

Bookings for both cities: Webtickets

Writer: Damon Galgut
Direction: Sylvaine Strike
Stage adaption: Damon Galgut and Sylvaine Strike

Cast: Rob van Vuuren, Kate Normington, Frank Opperman, Chuma Sopotela, Cintaine Schutte , Jenny Stead, Albert Pretorius, Sanda Shandu and Jane de Wet

Sound design and original music composition: Charl-Johan Lingenfelder
Set and lighting design: Josh Lindberg
Costume Design: Penny Simpson
Choreography: Natalie Fisher  

Beyond thrilling news is the announcement of the world première of Damon Galgut’s The Promise, to the stage, directed by Sylvaine Strike. The production will be on in two cities – in Cape Town, from September 14 to October 6, 2023, at The Star Theatre at the Homecoming Centre in Cape Town (formerly The Fugard Theatre) and then in Johannesburg, October 18 to November 5, 2023, at The John Kani stage at The Market Theatre. The production features a stunning cast and creative team. Galgut was awarded the Booker Prize, The Promise, in 2021 and this production is a huge theatrical happening. Read on for more.

Star-studded team brings world première of Damon Galgut’s THE PROMISE to the stage, directed by Sylvaine Strike

In what promises to be one of the most thrilling theatre highlights of the year, the stage production of Damon Galgut’s Booker Prize-winning novel, THE PROMISE, will have its world premiere in Cape Town this September.

Club Dezza Productions and The Market Theatre present Damon Galgut’s THE PROMISE. Featuring a star-studded South African cast and creative team, the production is directed by internationally acclaimed, multiple award-winning director Sylvaine Strike.

THE PROMISE will be presented from September 14 to October 6, 2023, at The Star Theatre at the Homecoming Centre in Cape Town (formerly The Fugard Theatre). The production will then transfer to The Market Theatre on The John Kani stage from October 18 to November.5, 2023.  Bookings for both cities are now open via Webtickets.

THE PROMISE, on stage, is written by Damon Galgut, directed by Sylvaine Strike with stage adaptation by Damon Galgut and Sylvaine Strike.


The dazzling cast line-up is: Rob van Vuuren (Curse of the Starving Class, Endgame) as Anton; Kate Normington (Tali’s Baby Diaries, Storm in a B-Cup) as Ma and Maman; Frank Opperman (Ouboet and Wors, Toutjies en Ferreira) as Pa/Rabbi/Moti; Chuma Sopotela (Standard Bank Young Artist, Karoo Moose) as Salome; Cintaine Schutte (Die Seemeeu, Fynskrif, Tien Duisend Ton) as Tannie Marina/Desiree; Jenny Stead (The Glass Menagerie, Elesin Oba) as Astrid; Albert Pretorius (Die Seemeeu, Nêrens, Noord-Kaap, Tien Duisend Ton) as Dominee Simms/ Ockie/ Dean/ Jake/ Father Batty; Sanda Shandu (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Unlikely Secret Agent) as Lukas/Bob/Politician and Jane de Wet (Spoorloos, The Watch) as Amor.

Creative team

The dream creative team is completed with Sound Design and Original Music Composition by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder (King Kong); Set and Lighting Design by Josh Lindberg (Birdy); Costume Design by Penny Simpson (The Producers) and Choreography by Natalie Fisher (Free Flight Dance Company).

Chorus-driven narrative

In a discussion process spanning almost two years, Galgut and Strike have identified a visual language through which this seminal family drama will unfold, supported by a uniquely chorus-driven narration.

Our recent workshop week was an extraordinary process of discovery with the author, cast and creative team. They were absolutely formidable! We were able to spend time decoding The Promise as a novel, and develop a physical, poetic language to turn it into a theatre encounter,” says director Sylvaine Strike.Funny, confrontational and powerful, this production gives the novel a whole new life. It will speak to audiences in the most intimate way possible.” “It’s been an honour to work with the script penned by Damon, which harnesses his novel in all its beauty, humour and devastation. He is a master storyteller, writing remarkable prose with a profoundly complex understanding of human relationships.,” she says.

On the edge of District Six, and home to the District Six Museum, the Homecoming Centre is the perfect symbolic venue for a work dealing with the most charged of all South African issues,” says Damon Galgut.

Greg Homann, the Artistic Director of the iconic Market Theatre, adds, “Having Damon Galgut’s compelling story on stage at the Market Theatre immediately after its world premiere in Cape Town is simply wonderful news for our audience. We are thrilled to be partnering on the production,and can’t wait to welcome Sylvaine and the exceptional cast and creative team to Johannesburg for this theatrical telling of one of the most celebrated novels of our time.”

I am a great fan of Sylvaine’s work,” Galgut comments. “The detailed physical transformations, vivid imagery, pathos and hilarity of her productions remain in audience’s hearts long after a show has ended.  Her directorial signature, seen in her work on productions such as Beckett’s Endgame, Firefly, Molière’s Tartuffe, and Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class, draws on the poetry of the performer’s body as primary story teller. She is the perfect director to bring The Promise to life on stage and I am greatly looking forward to seeing the final result!’

Galgut was awarded the prestigious Booker Prize for THE PROMISE in 2021. It is only the third time a South African writer has been given that honour.

The story: On a small farm outside Pretoria, the Swart family – “a typical bunch of white South Africans” – tries to hold itself together through the violent lurches of recent history. They have promised to give a small piece of land with a tiny house on it to Salome, the Sotho woman who has worked for them her whole life. A worthless property, but still, they will not give it up.

Are they cursed, or just unlucky? One by one, members of the family die, while everything around them changes and they try to stay the same. Only two siblings will eventually be left, facing each other over a great divide: Anton, the tormented older brother, and Amor, his strange younger sister.

Diarise the dates to ensure you don’t miss one of the must-see cultural events of the year!

The Promise by Damon Galgut – adapted for the stage by Galgut and Sylvaine Strike, who is directing the world première of the staging

When and where:  

Cape Town: September 14 to October 6, 2023 – at The Star Theatre at the Homecoming Centre in Cape Town (formerly The Fugard Theatre) Johannesburg: October 18 to November 5, 2023, The John Kani stage at The Market Theatre

Bookings for both cities: Webtickets  

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Damon Galgut  

Damon Galgut’s latest novel, The Promise, was awarded the prestigious Booker Prize for 2021. Two other novels of Galgut, The Good Doctor and In a Strange Room, have also previously been shortlisted for this prize. Hailed in the press as one of the world’s finest writers, Galgut published his first novel at seventeen and since then his work has been translated into 34 languages. Two films were made of his book The Quarry.  Locally, his previous novel, Arctic Summer, was awarded the Sunday Times  Fiction Prize. Galgut is also a past winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Africa region. He lives and works in Cape Town.  

Sylvaine Strike  

Sylvaine Strike graduated in performance from the University of Cape Town’s Drama School and went on to specialize in physical theatre and movement analysis at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Her very particular work as performer, director, theatre maker and teacher has moved hearts and minds since her first break-through at the National Arts Festival in 2002, when she directed and co-devised the runaway success Baobabs Don’t Grow Here for which she was awarded the Fleur du Cap Best New Director 2004 and the Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2003.  

From these humble beginnings, critically acclaimed work continued to follow, earning her a list of award-winning productions in which she either performed or directed: Black and Blue; TheTravellers; Coupé; The Butcher Brothers; The Table; The Miser; Tobacco; CARGO: Precious; Agreed; Miss Dietrich Regrets; Dop; Tartuffe by Molière; Curse of the Starving Class by SamShepard, the highly acclaimed Endgame by Samuel Beckett, Kiss of the Spider Woman byManuel Puig, and most recently- the resoundingly successful Firefly devised by the company andnominated for 4 Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.  


Sylvaine was made Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the order of Arts and Letters) by the French Government on March 28, 2019

Fiësta Best Production for Firefly 2021

Fleur Du Cap Theatre Awards Best Director 2018, for her direction of Endgame, which also won Best Production and Best Actor.

Featured Artist of the National Arts Festival in 2014.

Naledi Best Director Award 2012 for her direction of The Miser Standard Bank Young Artist for Drama for 2006.

Her production of Tartuffe was awarded the Fleur du Cap Award for Best Leading Actor and the Naledi Award for Best Ensemble.

The Miser, Best Production of a Play 2012, put her on the map as a contemporary director capable of realizing inspired, re-imagined classical work.

She has further been nominated in the Best Director category at the Naledi, Fleur du Cap and Woordtrofees Awards 2016 for her direction of the critically acclaimed plays Tobacco, Dop and Curse of the Starving Class in 2018.    
Cast of The Promise: First row: (l-r): Chuma Sopotela, Rob van Vuuren, Kate Normington
Second row (l-r): Frank Opperman, Jane de Wet, Jenny Stead.Third row (l-r): Albert Pretorius,  Sanda Shandu, Cintaine Schutte. Photos by Mark Wessels

✳ Sponsored content. Images supplied. Featured image – director Sylvaine Strike. Photo: Martin Kluge photography