SING OUT SISTER: Cast members (from left) Sam Hlophe, Mpume Mthombeni, Philile Chonco, Sheila Mkhize and Angel Dateh Zondo.

WOMEN are saluted in a new musical at The Playhouse. Written and directed by the renowned Zeph Nzama, Women in Singing pays tribute to women who have been abused spiritually and physically.

Instead of bemoaning their unhappy situations, a group of women come together and follow their dream of singing. Thanks to luck and perseverance, they are invited to take part in an event in New York.

Nzama has selected some of the best singers and actresses in Durban. The cast includes Sam Hlophe (A Brave New World, Dance Your Butt Off, Just For You), Angel Dateh Zondo (Stimela with Ray Phiri), Sheila Mkhize (African Passion, Durban Blues Festival), Philele Chonco (Joyous Celebration series) and Mpume Mthombeni (Tin Bucket Drum, Lollipop Lane, The Game).

The group will perform with a five-piece band – musical director Mthobisi Mthalane on keyboards, Mbuso Sokhela on bass, Spha Dlamini (drums), Nokwanda Nkala (saxophone) and Stephanie Pais (trumpet).

Tonight asked Mthombeni for her take on this women-centric celebratory piece.

“When I read the script I realised that Zeph wants to tell the story of women from all walks of life who discover they have one thing in common, which is their talent of singing.

“Through all the hardships they have been through, they teach other women that it’s not about how many times you’ve fallen, it’s what you do after you get up.

“You just have to get up, dust yourself off and make a change in the world.”

Mthombeni said it was great that women were being honoured in the arts. “Women are still going through different challenges. They are still being suppressed, still looked down upon. They are still expected to fulfil traditional roles like being housewives even though they work and contribute to their families. Girls are still expected to be raised to fulfil traditional roles, like doing the chores at home. Men are raised to believe that woman must serve them.”

The actress said she would encourage everyone – men, women and especially young people – to come and see the show. “This is a family show, open to everyone. People should come and learn and I hope our show will have an impact and they will start to look at women in a different way. Especially the youth, because they are the future. We are celebrating good things about women. The music is beautiful, it’s original, composed by Zeph and performed by a live band of professional musicians.”

Nzama said the show aimed to inform “all women in our society of the opportunities they have the right to enjoy after 20 years of freedom and democracy… Progress has been made in recent times with the empowerment of women. Many organisations now have females in leadership positions. However, there is still an ongoing need to keep getting the message across that women are entitled to respect equal opportunities.”

• Women in Singing is at the Playhouse Loft Theatre from June 11 to 15. Booking is through Computicket or on 031 369 9540. Tickets R85.