Kunene and the King


Kunene and the King transferred to The Fugard Theatre in April 2019, hot off its world premiere at The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in England. This moving and funny two-hander provides a fitting tribute to mark the 25th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections after apartheid.

Written by actor, activist and playwright John Kani (The Tempest, The Island, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, and movie Black Panther), who was last seen on The Fugard Theatre stage opposite Sandra Prinsloo in So Ry Miss Daisy, Kunene and the King reunites a powerhouse team with director Janice Honeyman (The Tempest,…Missing, Nothing But The Truth, Hello and Goodbye, The Fugard Theatre’s production of The Mother) and John Kani performing opposite Sir Antony Sher (The Tempest, The Fugard Theatre’s production of Broken Glass, the RSC productions of King Lear, 2016 & 2018 and Death of a Salesman).


First performance
21 March 2019

Final performance
25 May 2019

The Swan Theatre
(21 March 2019–23 April 2019)

The Fugard Theatre
(30 April 2019–25 May 2019))


John Kani
Lunga Kunene

Antony Sher
Jack Morris

Lungiswa Plaatjies
On Stage Musician


Eric Abraham for The Fugard Theatre
The Royal Shakespeare Company

Producer for The Fugard Theatre
Daniel Galloway

Producer for the RSC Ben

Co-Producer for The Fugard Theatre
Lamees Albertus

Associate Producer for The Fugard Theatre
Georgia Lahusen

Creative team

John Kani

Janice Honeyman

Assistant Director
Nel Crouch

Production Design
Birrie le Roux

Lighting Design
Mannie Manim

Original Sound Design for the RSC
Jonathan Ruddick

Sound Design re-created for The Fugard Theatre
David Classen

Neo Muyanga

Directing Intern
Siphelo Mtshetsha

RSC production team

Production Manager
Andreas Ayling

Props Supervisor
Alison Tanqueray

Wigs Supervisor
Sandra Smith

Head of Running
Wardrobe Sandy-Smith Wilson

Wigs & Make-up Team
Charlie Griffiths
Jill Leather
Debbie Lukic
Rachel Seal

Wardrobe Technician
Rebecca Rees

Michael Nolan

Production Lighting Technician
Simon Spencer

Lighting Programmer
Tim Owen Lighting

Matthew Coombes

Production Sound Technician
Andy Franks

Sound Desk Operator
Chris Vernon Video Oli Quintrell

Senior Automation Technician
Richard Smith

Automation Technician
Ian Kilpatrick

Senior Stage & Props Technicians
Al Pitts
Kevin Wimperis

Stage & Props Technicians
Dan Avery
Pete Read
Oscar Turner

Company Voice & Text Work
Cathleen McCarron

Photography for The RSC
Ellie Kurttz

Company Manager
Pip Horobin

Stage Manager
Maggie Mackay

Deputy Stage Manager
Juanita van Wyk

Assistant Stage Manager
Kei-Ella Loewe

Special thanks to Dr Kathryn Mannix, author of With The End In Mind and Medical Advisor on this production; Dr Peter Correa (Consultant Clinical Oncologist), Dr Paul Davis and Dr Allison Russell; Christine, Jo, Melanie and the staff at The Shakespeare Hospice, Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Fugard Theatre production team

Production Manager
Luke Ellenbogen

Technical Manager
Benjamin du Plessis

Resident Technical Stage Manager
Shayna Gleave

Deputy Production Manager
Sean Whitehead

Wardrobe Supervisor
Widaad Albertus

Carmen Abrahams
Frances Moerdyk

Stage Managers
Juanita van Wyk
Ulibo Maake

Assistant Stage Manager
Kei-Ella Loewe

Lighting Programmer
Benjamin du Plessis

Sound Operator
Justin Barends

Angelo Petersen
Achmat Khroodien

Set Construction
Gerhard Morkel
Carl Gersbach for CHG

Prop Construction
Koos Marais

Scenic Painting
Nadine Minnaar for Scene Visual Productions

Photography for The Fugard Theatre
Claude Barnardo

Christine Skinner


“John Kani beautifully captures the complex divides of race, class and politics in a remarkable and moving new play.”

The Guardian

“Kunene And The King written by South Africa’s great theatre star, the 76-year-old John Kani, is a deeply human play… It’s fierce, funny and never cheesy”

The Daily Mail

“Kunene and the King is ‘n moet sien, veral as jy steeds glo in die mense en moontlik hede van hierdie geliefde land.”

Die Burger

“Engrossing, and executed with consummate skill.”

The Times


The Stage

“Antony Sher and John Kani impress in this transracial reckoning.”

The Telegraph

“John Kani’s Kunene and the King is a triumph and a privilege.”


Production photos