James Ngcobo on the Market, the Mecca of Theatre

James Ngcobo on the Market, the Mecca of Theatre

24 Jul 2019 ARTS & CULTURE

By Zuko Komisa

As a crafter of narratives that are exhibited at the market theatre as Theatre Creative Director, James Ngcobo recently sat down with Mike Siluma on Karibu to speak about current works on exhibit at the Market reflecting the interconnectedness of our time.

The Theatre Director

Having been both an actor and director, his passion for storytelling has seen him, in his words, ‘like a chameleon’ in the industry. As a Markert Theatre Director, he is responsible for deciding what ultimately makes it to the stage.

Ngcobo says that his decision as to what makes it on the market stage depends solely on how unique and different it is and how it would be received.

“The second I realise that this has never been staged at the market theatre, that is what I stage.”

Black History Month

In his assessment of why people go to the market, he says he realized that people have all the comforts of DSTV and Netflix at home and the content has to have an immediacy that is mindblowing and becomes dissected in front of your eyes.

Upon starting at the market theatre, he introduced Black History month, a platform that tells African stories beyond the borders of South Africa.

“One of the things I did at the market theatre as soon as I joined was to introduce a thing called, Black history month. Which was never done at the market, an international month where black people celebrate their history. It has been going for over six years now.”

Listen to the full conversation here:

Stories Of Our Time

He says it’s absolutely imperative to tell these stories, saying during the era of ‘the rainbow nation’ we stifled our healing, living in a false reality that didn’t allow us to have conversations about where we were and where we had been.

“Our world and the whole continent is a huge enigma for many South Africans, I believe when we bring stories that make someone who grew up in Kwa-Mashu, Soshanguve and Alex see normality in their life and the life of someone 8 000 kilometers from them, and see a similarity is a very important thing.”

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Kalawa’s Corner to Corner

A vision he sees for the Market Theatre is the celebration of the universality of us as a people. He recently confirmed that he has put together a team to get the Kalawa Jazzme kwaito legends’ story on stage, a musical, that will be called ‘Corner to Corner’,with auditions expected to be held on February 2019.

Next year he is also directing a musical on how the Temptations were started called ‘Ain’t too Proud’. His passion has continued to drive him into untapped territories, a trait he affirms is all about growth and freeing himself from comfort and ease, an area he feels is the greatest threat to progress.

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