The Road to Mecca

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by Athol Fugard. The play which made the eccentric Helen Martins of Nieu Bethesda world famous, using her story to explore the soul of the artist. The title of the play is taken from a story by [[Don Maclennan which was publsihed in Contrast in July 1979 and republished in ADA Magazine in 1988.

The original text

First performed at the Market Theatre in 1984, presented by The Company, directed by the author and with Yvonne Bryceland as Helen.

Published by Faber & Faber, 1985.

Performance history in South Africa

First performed at the Market Theatre in 1984, directed by the author and with Yvonne Bryceland as Helen, Elize Cawood as Elsa Barlow and Louis van Niekerk as Ds Marius Byleveld. Design by Douglas Heap, lighting design by Mannie Manim, costumes by Vanessa Cooke.

Presented by CAPAB, directed by Rob Amato, co-directed by Bo Petersen opening at The Barn, Port Elizabeth Opera House on 23 August 1989 and at the Nico Arena on 1 September 1989, starring Lida Meiring as Miss Helen, Neels Coetzee as Marius Byleveld, Pauline O’Kelly as Elsa. Music David Nissen, designs Birrie le Roux, lighting Skip Wright.

(Winner of numerous awards, including a 1988 **) A revival of the play, featuring Lida Meiring and directed by ** won a Fleur du Cap Best Actress Award in 1989.

Translations and adaptations

The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard: film adaptation by Peter Goldsmid.

Filmscript [Typescript (photocopy).] NELMCollection: FUGARD, Athol]: 2012. 390. 3.

The film, produced by Anant Singh, starred Bryceland and Academy Award-winner Cathy Bates and Fugard himself, was made in 19**.


Theatre programmes 1984, 1989.

Nico Malan Theatre pamphlets, Aug-Nov 1989

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