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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, A4 Arts Foundation and Naomi Milgrom AC, with special thanks to Goodman Gallery.

Image credit: Zivanai Matangi 


‘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


Two performers smile as they make music using instruments together.

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.

£5 Young Barbican exhibition tickets

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Creative team


Conceptualiser & Director – Vusi Mdoyi
Programme Dramaturg 
 Bongile Lecoge-Zulu
– Vusi Mdoyi, Volley Nchabeleng, Micca Manganye, Thabo Rapoo & Muzi Shili
– Vusi Mdoyi & Thabo Rapoo
– 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
– Tony Bonani Miyambo

Sounds of Limpopo

Conceptualisers & Performers – Micca Manganye & Volley Nchabeleng



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



Director  Faniswa Yisa
 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