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Casting announced for Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah's Tree at the Young Vic

Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah. Photo credit: David Sandison.

Casting news

MANCHESTER International Festival (MIF), the Young Vic and Green Door Pictures have announced full casting for Tree, which will receive its world premiere at Manchester International Festival (July 4 to July 13), before transferring to the Young Vic (July 29 to August 24, 2019).

Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this new collaboration is an electrifying blend of drama, music and dance which follows one man’s journey into the heart and soul of contemporary South Africa – with the audience at the centre of the action.

The full cast includes: Christian Bradley; Lucy Briggs-Owen; Sinéad Cusack; Kurt Edyiawan; Alfred Enoch; Anna-Kay Alicia Gayle; Joan Iyiola; Anthony Matsena; Daniella May; Patrice Naiambana; Mbulelo Ndabeni and Andile Sotiya.

Directed by Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of London’s Young Vic, with music inspired by Elba’s album Mi Mandela, Tree is an exhilarating show about identity, family and belonging, seen through the eyes of one man on the toughest journey of his life.

Elba will produce along with Green Door Pictures.

It’s just 12 hours from London to his parents’ homeland, but to Kaleo (Alfred Enoch), South Africa is another world. A family tragedy finally forces him to visit for the first time – and as he takes his journey of healing, Kaleo must confront hidden histories and right the wrongs of the past. But first he must face the present: a shattered family, fighting to hold on to what they believe is theirs, in a nation haunted by the ghosts of its own turbulent past.

Director Kwame Kwei-Armah said: “I feel genuinely privileged to be working with this incredible group of actors, dancers and musicians to bring to life our shared vision for Tree, inspired by Idris’s intoxicating Mi Mandela album. As a director and as a producer, what excites me most is our attempt to blur the genre lines; Tree places the audience, standing, at the centre of the action – almost like a club, or a gig – and at the same time it takes them on a theatrical journey with a narrative that emotionally engages.

“We held some workshops with Alfie Enoch earlier this year, and the atmosphere in that room was fascinating. Now that the wonderful Sinead Cusack has joined us, along with a phenomenally talented group of multi-disciplined artists, I cannot wait to get into rehearsals and prepare to bring that infectious energy to audiences at MIF and the Young Vic later this year.”

Image: Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah. Photo credit: David Sandison.

Tickets (Young Vic): From £10. To book, visit

Times (Young Vic): 7.30pm, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

For the full Manchester International Festival programme, visit