Performance Theatre

SAMSON “His people said he was a saviour. More like a loaded gun...

In an era of intolerance and polarisation, a young man with a hero mission channels the fury of his subjugated people, and inflicts terror on the population that he holds accountable for their oppression.
As the body count mounts, Delilah –an ambivalent enemy agent –seduces and ritually castrates him. His brutal punishment in the detention facilities of the authorities spurs him to an act of suicidal devastation...

SAMSON uproots the popular biblical myth from its religious context and transplants it into a dystopian contemporary landscape of unbridled capitalism, human displacement, xenophobia and violence.
It asks us to reflect on the historical injustices and repressed rage that so often underlie the ruthless acts of terror committed by marginalized, alienated men.

Brett Bailey’s SAMSON is a hard-edged, deeply moving music-theatre production, set to a rousing live electronic score composed by one of South Africa’s foremost musicians, Shane Cooper. The work features opera, choral vocals, tight ensemble work and sweeping video scenography.

SAMSON premiered in 2020 and was awarded Best Music Theatre Production and Best Director and nominated for Best Production, Best Design and Best Costumes at South Africa’s national theatre awards, the Kyknet Fiestas the same year. 

SAMSON's European premiere took place in the summer of 2021.


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  • 2024-01-20 00:00:00 2024-01-21 00:00:00 - Teatros del Canal, Madrid - Spain
  • 2023-01-10 00:00:00 2023-01-15 00:00:00 - Théatre Nanterre-Amandiers, Nanterre - France
  • 2021-07-18 00:00:00 2021-07-19 00:00:00 - Grec Festival de Barcelona, Barcelona - Spain
  • 2021-07-06 00:00:00 2021-07-13 00:00:00 - Festival d'Avignon, Avignon - France
  • 2019-06-27 00:00:00 2019-06-29 00:00:00 - National Arts Festival, Grahamstown - South Africa
  • 2019-03-08 00:00:00 2019-03-10 00:00:00 - US Woordfees 2019, Stellenbosch - South Africa



Abey Xakwe – ensemble 
Apollo Ntshoko – ensemble 
Elvis Sibeko – Samson 
Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi – ensemble 
Jonno Sweetman – musician 
Mapumba Cilombo – ensemble + musician
Mikhaela Kruger – musician 
Shane Cooper – musician 
Wiseman Sithole – storyteller 
Zanele Mbizo – ensemble  

Written, designed and directed by Brett Bailey
Composer and musical director: Shane Cooper
Choreographer: Elvis Sibeko
Art work: Brett Bailey & Tanya P Johnson
Lighting design: Wolf Britz
Video animation: Kirsti Cumming
Sound engineer and design: Carlo Thompson
Producer & general manager: Barbara Mathers
Technical production manager: Kobus Rossouw
Stage manager: Miliswa Mbandazayo 

Samson is now performed by Cebolenkosi Zuma