The Promise on 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

Scroll down to box with details of cast and creative team

Rehearsals are in full swing for one of the most anticipated plays of the year– The Promise – on stage– the world première of the stage adaptation of Damon Galgut’s Booker Prize-winning novel, The Promise. Read on for more. Info as supplied:

The Promise – on stage

Club Dezza Productions and The Market Theatre present THE PROMISE – ON STAGE which will have its world première, from September 16 to October 6, 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 October18 to November 5Bookings for both cities are open via Webtickets.

Featuring a star-studded South African cast and creative team, the production is directed by internationally acclaimed, multiple award-winning director Sylvaine Strike.

THE PROMISEON STAGE is written by Damon Galgut, directed by Sylvaine Strike with stage adaptation by Damon Galgut and Sylvaine Strike.

The rehearsal process

The rehearsal process for bringing this exceptional novel to the stage has been a profound and electrifying journey,” says director Sylvaine Strike. “We are developing the theatre language for the piece, while the costumes and sound design are springing magically to life under the genius of Penny Simpson and Charl-Johan Lingenfelder respectively. It has been a gift to work with Josh Lindberg’s exceptional set from day one, which, without giving too much away, does not have a single flat surface, a true playground for us all creating the landscape of The Promise – on Stage.”

We have been reflecting on ourselves as South Africans, with the recent events in our country highlighting how disparate our daily experiences are. It serves as a sharp reminder that the themes of The Promise remain absolutely relevant, and how vital it is to have continued conversations around these realities.’ 


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

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).

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

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.

In conversation at the Open Book Festival

Catch author Damon Galgut and director Sylvaine Strike at Open Book Festival in conversation with Africa Melane about the process of bringing The Promise from the page to the stage. The event takes place on Friday September 8 at 12pm, in the Avalon Theatre. Seating is limited. Tickets cost R50 and can be booked at Webtickets. 

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 Strikeis a multi-award winning and internationally celebrated South African director and theatre practitioner. She graduated from the University of Cape Town’s distinguished Drama School and is an alumni of the revered L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, where she specialised in physical theatre and movement analysis in Paris.

Sylvaine’s significant contribution as performer, director, theatre-maker, and teacher has moved hearts and inspired minds. Her first break through at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda nearly two decades ago when she directed and co-devised the runaway success Baobabs Don’t Grow Here, for which she was awarded the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best New Directorand the Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Festival is testament to this contribution.

From these humble beginnings, critically acclaimed work has continued to follow, earning her an extensive list of award-winning productions in which she has either performed or directed: Black and BlueThe TravellersCoupé; The Butcher Brothers; The Table; The Miser; Tobacco; CARGO: Precious; Agreed; Miss Dietrich Regrets; Dop; Tartuffe by Molière; Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard, the highly acclaimed Endgame by Samuel Beckett, Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee and, most recently, the resoundingly successful Firefly, devised by the company and nominated for four Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.

Sylvaine’s vast contribution to the South African Arts economy has been recognised by numerous artistic bodies, including: the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre, The kykNET Fiësta Awards, The Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, and the Naledi Theatre Awards. Her body of work was featured and celebrated at the 2014 National Arts Festival and in 2019, Sylvaine was conferred with the Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, a major accolade and impactful recognition of her significant contribution to the Arts both in South Africa and abroad.

As a practitioner, she is dedicated to nurturing young performers, directors, designers and stage managers. Sylvaine encourages the artists that she nurtures and works with to showcase themselves within the body work that she produces. Her role as mentor, theatre-maker and director comes with the responsibility of producing theatre for a contemporary South African generation, a challenge she is very passionate about.

The Promise – on stage  

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    

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✳Featured image: The cast of The Promise on Stage, with author Damon Galgut and director Sylvaine Strike.  Photo: Martin Kluge. ✳ Sponsored content. Image supplied.

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