The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

The Isango Ensemble oversaw the design, development and opened at The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town in 2010. It was the Company in Residence for the first year. During this period they opened The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Izigwili Ezidlakazelayo a brand new musical adaptation by writer Stephen Lowe of Robert Tressell’s seminal work. The book is one of the most popular and influential socialist novels in the twentieth century. What is little-known is that Tressell spent much of his early life in Cape Town and South Africa and although there are no direct references, the novel bears hidden traces of his life in the then Cape colony. Isango’s version moves the action to an apartheid era Cape Town of the 1950s with popular songs from the period as well as the powerful Struggle songs of the time.

‘It is the work of true visionaries of the theatre.’

Cape Times

‘You are transported into the realms of top-class entertainment …the music is outrageous, gorgeous and inspirational.’

Sunday Independent

‘…boisterous…they’re keeping the red flag flying here.’

The Guardian UK

‘…stunning…utterly charming…’

What’s On Stage UK

‘a blast of astonishing ensemble performance…a gem of a mini-Marxist lecture…side-splitting…mesmerising’

Morning Star UK

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