The Color Purple is an inspiring family saga that tells the unforgettable story of a woman who – through love – finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world.
The musical The Color Purple does not shy away from the brutal realities of its origin. Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of African American women in the Southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. Themes of sexism, racism, abuse, sisterhood, women’s rights and the disruption of traditional gender roles prevalent in the novel are in the musical itself: themes with which South Africans live and grapple on a day-to-day basis and are still prominent topics of conversation in international news coverage. The Color Purple, although a vitally important contribution to African American history, is also disturbingly relevant to today’s theatre audiences in South Africa.
RADA (an acronym for rape, alcohol, drug, and abuse), is a non-profit company that aims to take positive, meaningful and effective action to combat life’s atrocities, many of which are addressed in the play.
Bernard Jay, executive producer of the musical in South Africa, thought it would be a good idea to collaborate with RADA in order to create awareness around the very issues raised in the story of The Color Purple. Jay explains, “I want to inspire people beyond watching a story of the human spirit. By collaborating with RADA, we aim to create further awareness of these issues and atrocities against women, and hope to give people the courage to fight and overcome their own nightmares.”
J-P Nobrega, founder of RADA, adds, “We are extremely proud to collaborate with the incredible cast and unbelievable team that breaths life to The Color Purple. In its simplest form, RADA aims to spread a message of love and empowerment. By the same token, The Color Purple epitomises this message and encompasses a story of incredible achievement through terrible adversity. The musical so brilliantly conveys how a person can reinvent themselves no matter life’s difficulties. It therefore makes perfect sense to combine forces and inspire a nation.”
The Color Purple and RADA will be collaborating and participating in various outreach projects to further spread the message of hope to South Africans within the themes of the musical and according to the principals of RADA.