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

Club Dezza Productions and The Market Theatre present Damon Galgut’s THE PROMISE on stage.

In what is one of the most thrilling theatre highlights of the year, the stage production of Damon Galgut’s Booker Prize-winning novel, THE PROMISE, had its world premiere in Cape Town this September. After rave reviews and a number of sold-out performances, it now comes to The Market Theatre for a strictly limited season.

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 is presented at The Market Theatre on The John Kani stage from 19 October to 5 November 2023.  It is written by Damon Galgut, directed by Sylvaine Strike with stage adaptation by Damon Galgut and Sylvaine Strike. 

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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.

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 (Cruise); Costume Design by Penny Simpson (The Producers) and Choreography by Natalie Fisher (Free Flight Dance Company).

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

Director Sylvaine Strike says, “Funny, confrontational and powerful, this production gives the novel a whole new life. It will speak to audiences in the most intimate way possible.” She adds, “It’s been an honor 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.

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 for our audience. We are thrilled to be partnering on the production, and 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!’

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 honor.

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.

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

To make block bookings and for discounts please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641ext 203/ 083 246 4950

For further information, interviews and images, contact:

Brand and Communications Manager: Lusanda Zokufa 072 367 7867 or

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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 Sam Shepard, the highly acclaimed Endgame by Samuel Beckett, Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig, and most recently- the resoundingly successful Firefly devised by the company and nominated for 4 Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.