The South African company Isango Ensemble is based in Cape Town. The core of the company was formed by director Mark Dornford-May and music director and singer Pauline Malefane in 2000. The company predominantly draws performers from across the townships surrounding the city. The company’s structure embraces artists at all stages of their creative development, allowing senior artists to lead and contribute towards the growth of rising talents. At its heart are the extraordinary and varied musical abilities of its group of performers.
The company is a Section 21 Company, a not-for-profit organization, in UK terms a registered charity. Isango Ensemble works through the creative force and energy of each and every member of the Company. This collective focus makes things happen beyond “the box.” It is the mixture and clash of its cultures, races and experiences that enables it to create work of the highest calibre.
The company’s work to date has focused on reimagining classics from the Western theatre canon, finding a new context for the stories within a South African or township setting, adapting South African novels to stage and creating new work, which is relevant to the heritage of the nation.