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To What End

The Centre for the Less Good Idea

A performer in a cream dress and red shawl moves across the stage, behind her a group of 5 performers stand with their arms raised against the wall.

Six inspiring short performances blend dance and live music, developed by South African artists at William Kentridge’s leading centre for experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts.

This curated programme features diverse performances from a range of artists including a captivating all-female chorus, rhythmic dance and personal, heartfelt solos. These innovative performances all use text, sound, music, movement and visuals in experimental ways to breathtaking effect to explore themes of social and political change in South Africa. 

Founded by the visionary artist William Kentridge, The Centre for the Less Good Idea is an artistic incubator in Johannesburg, supporting artists to follow their impulses, connections and revelations to create groundbreaking new work. This is the first time that this new programme will have been seen outside of their country.

Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes, no interval

Age guidance: 14+ (contains some upsetting scenes referencing both recent and historical tragedies and injustices).

Performed in English, Zulu, Xhosa, Sesotho and Setswana

Fri 7 Oct
Post-show talk (free to same-day ticket holders)

Sun 9 Oct
Audio-described performance 

Take a look at our Accessible Events page to find out more about the accessibility of our venues.

Presented by the Barbican

Produced by THE CENTRE FOR THE LESS GOOD IDEA in partnership with THE OFFICE performing arts + film. Funded with the generous support of Wendy Fisher with special thanks to Goodman Gallery.

Image credit: Zivanai Matangi 

Members and Members Plus enjoy 20% off ticket prices for this show.

No booking fee. Discounted tickets subject to availability.

Become a member.

Corporate Members enjoy discounted ticket prices to this performance. 

2 tickets max per booking. 

Become a Corporate Member 

£10

Aged 14–25? Join Young Barbican for free. 

Subject to availability 

Wheelchair spaces, free companion seats may now be booked online.  
Please select the relevant preferences on the access registration page during your booking so we can provide you with the correct information and discounts.  

Booking a wheelchair space: Select a seat displaying the wheelchair user icon and then select wheelchair user ticket type. The ticket will be priced at the lowest price for that event. If you need an essential companion, please select the E icon next to the wheelchair space you have selected.  

Booking essential companion tickets: Please select at least two tickets and one of them will be automatically discounted to zero in the basket.  

Booking British Sign Language or Captioned Seats: Select seats in the area appropriate to your needs. 

Under 16’s 
Save 50%. Proof of age required on collection.

Schools
£8, subject to availability 

Groups 
Groups can book at a 20% discount, subject to availability. Contact [email protected] to make a group booking. 

*Excludes £3 booking fee

Reviews

‘A space funded by the artist for collaboration and creation, and for ideas to flourish without the usual confines and constraints imposed by institutional or corporate funding‘
Financial Times on The Centre for the Less Good Idea
‘The South African William Kentridge is one of the great artists of our time‘
The Telegraph

Discover

The Centre for the Less Good Idea

Discover more about The Centre for the Less Good Idea, William Kentridge's cultural incubator in Johannesburg, a place for the creation and support of experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts projects.

The Programme

The programme features Footnotes, where a team of dancers and musicians equipped with typewriters and percussive instruments question the nature of their being and their labour. Caught between modes of survival and instruction, this is a rampantly physical dance and sound piece. 

The Weep of the Whips is a breathtaking physical two-hander seeking to find power in brokenness in which the sjambok (whip) is used as a tool for instruction and musicality.

Commission Continua is a personal and heartfelt one-hander, in which paper becomes a shrewd and incisive metaphor.

A musical performance sees the use of instruments and bodies to both replicate and pay tribute to the myriad sounds and narratives of South Africa’s northernmost province in Sounds of Limpopo. 

The largest ensemble work of the programme, Pitsana is a performance that grapples with the conventions of responsibility, duty, and labour. It is a story that posits the consequences of a physical and psychological repression of energy.

An ensemble female chorus come together in the performance of Umthandazo, taking its lead from the oft-overlooked victims of the 2012 Marikana Massacre.

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Creative team

Footnotes

Conceptualiser & Director – Vusi Mdoyi
Programme Dramaturg 
 Bongile Lecoge-Zulu
Performers 
– Vusi Mdoyi, Volley Nchabeleng, Micca Manganye, Thabo Rapoo & Muzi Shili
Choreographers
– Vusi Mdoyi & Thabo Rapoo
Musicians 
– Volley Nchabeleng & Micca Manganye
Costume Designers 
Greta Goiris, Emmanuelle Erhart & SO Academy Costume Mentees

 

The Weep of Whips

Conceptualiser & Choreographer – Thulisile Binda 
Performers – Thulisile Binda & Micca Manganye
Musician – Micca Manganye
Costume Designers Nthabiseng Malaka & Natalie Paneng

 

Commission Continua

Conceptualisers – Tony Bonani Miyambo & Phala Ookeditse Phala
Director  Phala Ookeditse Phala
Performer 
– Tony Bonani Miyambo

Sounds of Limpopo

Conceptualisers & Performers – Micca Manganye & Volley Nchabeleng

 

Pitsana

Conceptualiser & Choreographer  Thulisile Binda
Director 
– Phala Ookeditse Phala
Musicians 
– Thembinkosi Mavimbela, Micca Manganye & Muzi Shili
Performers 
 Thabo Rapoo, Thulisile Binda, Sibahle Mangena & Muzi Shili
Costume Designers
 Nthabiseng Malaka & Natalie Paneng

 

Umthandazo

Director  Faniswa Yisa
Performers 
 Asanda Hanabe, Buhle Mazibuko, Molebogeng Phiri, Sibahle Mangena, Zandi Hlatshwayo & Elma Motloenya 
Costume Designers 
 Greta Goiris, Emmanuelle Erhart & SO Academy Costume Mentees

 

 

Co-founder & Director of The Centre for the Less Good Idea  Bronwyn Lace
Animateur & Programmes Curator for The Centre for the Less Good Idea 
Phala Ookeditse Phala

The Pit