When the musical Sophiatown was staged at the Market Theatre in Newtown in 2016 as part of the theatre’s 40th anniversary, it was meant to run for six days. However, seats at the production were packed and three more shows were added, which quickly sold out too. And in March, when Mbongeni Ngema’s Sarafina was staged at the State Theatre in Pretoria, more than 25,000 tickets were sold ahead of its opening. Ngema announced that Sarafina would tour the country for at least three years after its season ended at the State Theatre. Now the Market Theatre has brought back Sophiatown for a longer season. Its director, Malcolm Purkey, is confident the huge John Kani Theatre will be filled until the run ends on May 14. There is hunger for well-crafted and well-executed theatre steeped in history. Could it be that South Africans are, generally speaking, a nostalgic people who will not leave the past where it belongs — in the past? "No. It has absolutely nothing to do with nostalgia. In the 19...

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