Preview- Tracks- SAHK Theatre Exchange and Treasure Chest Theatre School


SAHK Theatre Exchange, in collaboration with Treasure Chest Theatre School, is presenting Tracks, an original piece all the way from South Africa. Written by Maude Sandham and Nicola Pilkington, the piece is based on true events about Ms Sandham's family and her discovery about a big family secret. 





"The story is about my grandfather", she says. "He was a complicated man who kept a secret from his wife and children for 43 years. He was a man of colour who passed as white; a man who slipped through the cracks of the Apartheid regime. His marriage, occupation and locations inhabited were illegal; and thus kept his identity a secret. Not only from the authorities, but from his family too". 


Ms Sandham comes from a long line of great storytellers, but there was always a story that enveloped her whole family. 


"I decided to share the story about my family and my grandfather’s identity to shed light on an experience that many other families have experienced too!"


Tracks is a political story. It is the type of story that is omitted from our history books. It is part of a tapestry of stories from South Africa (and beyond) that is untold. It is where the real sinister stuff of the Apartheid system was at work: the severance of families and secrets kept for decades. These stories have shadows that are cast over generations. And stepping out of the dark to bring light to these stories is the work of our generation.


Co-creator, director and designer Nicola Pilkington was taken by Ms Sandham’s story and the way in which she has negotiated her grandfather’s secret: how in 2017, South Africans are still discovering long lost family members and that it’s happening all around us! 


"I think some of the things that her grandfather did were beyond anything we could fabricate, like the fact that he was on the front cover of our national newspaper shaking hands with a notorious racist politician during the height of Apartheid. Or that they lived under 2.5kms (or 1.5kms) from their family of colour for over 60 years and only met a few years ago".



 At a time when the world is feeling continuously divided, Maude’s story embodies the complexities of ‘us’ and ‘them’. "It’s an incredible story about reunion and reconciliation told through the lens of a young South African".


The piece was created as a collaboration between the two artists. They wrote and conceptualized the play together, with Ms. Sandham performing while Ms Pilkington is the ‘outside eye’. "I am a physical performer, theatremaker and actress, based in Johannesburg. I've recently returned from touring France where I was clowning and running workshops with vulnerable groups. Most recently I've also created and run the first-ever Bosman Theatre Residency in the North-West province of SA", Sandham says. 


Ms Pilkington is a multi-disciplinary artist, storyteller and educator from Johannesburg, really interested in telling stories that don’t often hit the stage or screen. "I recently returned from a residency in England and Scotland, and am looking forward to working as a projection designer for a cutting-edge production that will be touring South Africa early next year". 


The two artists met two years ago. Sandham first approached Pilkington about the play because of her incredibly keen eye for detail, design, and experience as a documentary filmmaker. "It has made Tracks the finely tuned and multi-hued production that it is" Sandham says. 



The project is coordinated and presented by SAHK Theatre Exchange, founded by Lymari Alberts. Ms Alberts has been very active in promoting art and culture from her native South Africa and has presented to the stage both original and non-original material. 


 "SAHK Theatre Exchange is not a theatre company", she says. "It is a programme and an initiative with the express goal to connect artists from opposite sides of the globe with each other. Our current project is to bring “Tracks" to Hong Kong and we’re doing it by connecting the Tracks team with the Hong Kong production Company Treasure Chest Theatre School". 


The group is also in the process of arranging for a local theatre production performance at a national arts festival in South Africa. "Keep your eyes peeled for more details on that one. That being said though, we are evolving, and we are not entirely sure what we will be in ten, five or even one year from now", Ms Alberts says. 


The team is quite excited to see what the response will be in Hong Kong - especially Ms Sandham. "I imagine the audience will be quite diverse in some ways: comprised of HK residents, international teachers, and teachers from SA originally. I think it will open up a conversation, and hopefully inspire some strong debate. I hope people are moved by the story".


On the side, SAHK Theatre exchange will be running storytelling workshops on the 10th of November just before their matinee show. If there are any performers, writers, artists or curious minds who wish to join, please contact After these shows, there will also be a Q&A if there are those who want to find out more about the story, more about South Africa or just to share some love! 


HKELD readers can enjoy the special 10% discount with the promo code, SAHKFRIENDS.


This team of talented and special women is looking forward to meeting you all there! You can follow them on Instagram at @maudes_traveling_circus or @SAHKTheatreExchange. 


For more information about Tracks click here





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