Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
A NEW play by Fraser Grace and Sylvester Stein, Who Killed
Mr Drum? receives its world premiere at west London's
Riverside Studios on September 1, 2005 (previews from August 26).
Its limited season continues until October 8, 2005.
Based on Stein's 1999 book of the same name, it tells the story
of South Africa's first black magazine, Drum - of how not long
after Stein took over as editor in 1955 problems began and he
and most of his staff were forced into exile - largely on account
of the magazine's anti-apartheid stance.
That it's set in the 1950s, in Johannesburg's
vibrant Sophiatown - which under government orders was bulldozed
and its black populace forcibly removed to Soweto - puts it in
Stein wrote his first novel, a satire on apartheid called Second
Class Taxi, after settling in Britain. It became a best-seller
in his native South Africa but was subsequently banned. His other
books include The Bewilderness, Old Letch and 99
Ways to Reach a 100.
While Grace's other plays include Perpetua, Frobisher's Gold,
Bubble and premiering this coming autumn as part of the Royal
Shakespeare Company's new work festival, Breakfast with Mugabe.
In Who Killed Mr Drum? leading South African actor Sello
Maake Ka-Ncube who only last year took on the title role in the
RSC's acclaimed production of Othello, plays assistant
editor and literary spirit Can Themba, opposite Stephen Billington
Also in the cast are Wela Frasier, Marcel Mccalla and Lucian