Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents
a WorldStage production from South Africa

Isango Ensemble’s

A Man of Good Hope

Young refugee’s coming-of-age story vibrantly told through song and dance
in a limited engagement, October 4–13, 2019

Chicago—September 16, 2019—Chicago Shakespeare Theater welcomes the Olivier Award-winning Isango Ensemble to Chicago to present its acclaimed production of A Man of Good Hope, based on the book by Jonny Steinberg and adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May. Vividly told through song and dance steeped in African traditions, the story follows one young Somali refugee’s extraordinary odyssey across a continent and his unfailing hope in the face of adversity. The production will be presented for a limited engagement in the Courtyard Theater as part of the WorldStage at Chicago Shakespeare series, October 4–13, 2019.

A musical theater spectacle pulsating with exuberant music performed by Isango’s 20-member company, A Man of Good Hope tells the true coming-of-age story of Asad Abdullahi, a young Somali refugee who fled his country’s civil war, only to find himself in a new violent reality in South Africa. Chronicling Asad’s life as it crisscrosses some of the world’s most charged contemporary issues—human trafficking, migration, poverty, and xenophobia—this modern African odyssey, leavened by humor, is rich with fresh insights into resilience and survival.

Hailed as “a full-blooded hymn to hope” by London’s Daily Mail, A Man of Good Hope has received unanimous acclaim in cities across the globe. The New York Times highlighted it as a top Critic’s Pick, calling it “a profound act of empathy and a reminder of what a mighty force empathy in the theater can be.” The Evening Standard calls it “powerful and vivid…Asad's story unfolds in joyous ensemble singing” and Financial Times lauds it as “glorious, vibrant musical theatre that speaks to the biggest concern of our age.”

Internationally recognized for their powerhouse vocals and signature marimba, Isango Ensemble draws its performers from the townships surrounding Cape Town and speaks to a broad multicultural audience. Since its founding in 2000, Isango Ensemble has played to sold-out audiences around the world with productions including A Christmas Carol (Ikrismaskherol), The Mysteries, and Aesop’s Fables. The company returns to Chicago Shakespeare after its production of The Magic Flute toured to the Theater in 2014.

Joining director Mark Dornford-May on the creative team are Music Director Mandisi Dyantyis, Choreographer Lungelo Ngamlana, Lighting Designer Manuel Manim, Speech and Dialogue Coach Lesley Nott Manim, Co-production Manager Andreas Ayling, Relighter Jack Hathaway, Company Manager Maris Sharp, Co-production Manager Sandile Mgugunyeka, Stage Manager Valencia Mgugunyeka, and Chaperone Doreen Nondibano Hintsho. The A Man of Good Hope cast includes Mandisi Dyantyis (Jonny), Thobile Jim Dyasi (Company), Nombongo Fatyi (Company), Thandokazi Fumba (Company), Zamile Gantana (Rooda), Siphosethu Hintsho (Asad as a boy), Nontsusa Louw (Yindy / Death), Zimkhitha Mathomane (Company), Zanele Mbatha (Asad’s mother), Sinethemba Mdena (Madoda), Zoleka Mpotsha (Yindy / Death), Thandolwethu Mzembe (Asad II), Siyanda Ncobo (Company), Sonwabo Ntshata (Company), Melikhaya Ntshuntshe (Visa Clerk, etc.), Cikizwa Rolomana (Foosiya), Masakana Sotayisi (Company), Luvo Tamba (SA Man), Ayanda Tikolo (Asad I), and Philani Xhaga (SA Man).

A Man of Good Hope is an Isango Ensemble/Young Vic production, presented in association with the Royal Opera, Repons Foundation, and X and Y.

A Man of Good Hope exemplifies Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s commitment to importing the world’s most exciting theatrical events to Chicago and exporting the Theater’s productions to global destinations through WorldStage at Chicago Shakespeare. To date, the program has featured over 1,000 artists from 22 countries spanning six continents including artists from China, India, Colombia, Belarus, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Many of the globe’s most iconic troupes have made Chicago their stage, including: The Abbey Theatre from Dublin, Shakespeare’s Globe from London, the Chekhov International Theatre Festival from Moscow, La Comédie Française from Paris, and The Farber Foundry from South Africa. Later this season, Chicago Shakespeare will welcome México’s Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral production of Andares (October 23–27, 2019; Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare) and the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company (April 2020; The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare).

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A Man of Good Hope will be presented in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Courtyard Theater for a limited engagement, October 4–13, 2019. Single tickets ($60–$90) are on sale now. Special discounts will be available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be—a company that defies theatrical category. This Regional Tony Award-winning theater’s year-round season features as many as twenty productions and 650 performances—including plays, musicals, world premieres, family programming, and presentations from around the globe. Chicago Shakespeare is the city’s leading presenter of international work, and has toured its own productions across five continents. The Theater’s nationally acclaimed arts in literacy programs support the work of teachers, and bring Shakespeare to life on stage for tens of thousands of students annually. Each summer, the company tours a free professional production to neighborhood parks across Chicago. In 2017 the Theater unveiled The Yard, which, together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, positions Chicago Shakespeare as Chicago’s most versatile performing arts center.


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