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Project information

Lionboy tour to Africa

Lionboy, Complicite's first show for young people and families toured the UK in Summer 2013. Complicite now intends to take the production and supporting education programme to Africa, a continent it has never toured to before, and one which is at the heart of the Lionboy story.

May 2014 - January 2016

Charity information: Complicite

Complicite logo
  • Need


    Cultural exchange between the UK and Africa is vital, but can be difficult. The British Council’s 2012 report on North Africa, ‘Voices of the People’, states that 'The UK is perceived as having one of the most vibrant arts scenes in the world, and it is important that UK-based practitioners come to the region'. However, because of the cost and logistics of touring live theatre internationally, this can be incredibly difficult even for leading UK theatre companies, and often proves impossible.


    Touring Lionboy to a series of African countries will allow Complicite, one of the most influential theatre companies working today, to bring its world-class work to new audiences and foster cultural exchange. The Lionboy story is rooted in Ghanaian heritage and collisions between cultures. And Complicite has a long history of building lasting partnerships with international venues and artists, also running an award-winning Creative Learning programme to help local communities access its work.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To tour Lionboy to Africa and to reach new audiences, particularly young people and families


    » Tour to venues in North Africa and Zimbabwe and South Africa in the Sub-Sahara and bring work to young people that is designed and shaped around them.

    What success will look like

    Success will be taking Lionboy to at least one African venue and achieving 70% attendance from audiences

    Aim 2

    To produce a supporting Creative Learning project for schools and youth groups.


    » Work with the venues we tour to to ensure that the Creative Learning programme is responsive to the needs of the local communities
    » Work with Complicite artists and associates to create and deliver a Creative Learning programme that builds on the themes of the Lionboy production

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by the numbers of young people and families who watch the production, and participate in the programme.

  • Impact


    Complicite hopes that touring Lionboy to Africa will be the beginning of a cultural exchange - after touring work to India and Japan, Complicite built longlasting relationships with venues/artists in these countries and created further productions with them which drew on Indian history and Japanese literature. Complicite would also work to deliver a Creative Learning project that meets the needs of local communities and develops young people's access to art with a view to long term engagement.


    There is a risk that touring work to Africa is an unknown for the Company and there may be issues that arise in terms of moving across the continent that may be difficult to anticipate. Complicite has sought advice from the British Council and will ensure that they are fully prepared to embark on the tour.


    Donors will receive email and written correspondence detailing progress on the project, including images and local audience feedback. Donors will can also join Complicite's mailing list and participate in the company's individual giving schemes.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £138,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £10,000 Freight on tour The cost of touring the set for Lionboy
      £15,000 Travel International travel
      £10,000 Workshops Holding workshops for school and youth groups
      £75,000 Fees and wages Production team, actors and creatives
      £20,000 Production costs Equipment hire for touring, costume, props etc
      £8,000 Press & Marketing Marketing for the tour
  • Background


    Complicite plan to tour Lionboy to a number of African countries, both in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The choice of Africa as the location for Complicite's tour is significant. Lionboy is rooted in Ghanaian heritage and, amongst other events, follows the story of a pride of Moroccan lions. African culture and storytelling is at the heart of the Lionboy story.


    Because the tour is in its planning stages, Complicite has not yet confirmed which countries and cities in Africa it will visit. However, ideal venues would include the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa and the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Zimbabwe. The project would thus benefit the thriving arts audiences in these cities, whilst the Creative Learning programme - as in the UK - would increase access to world-class theatre amongst local communities.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Founded in 1983, Complicite is a London-based theatre company that tours work both nationally and internationally. The company is an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation, and has won more than fifty major global theatre awards.

    ‘The most influential and consistently interesting theatre company working in Britain’ The Times

    Press for Lionboy:

    'Annabel Arden's production delights' **** The Guardian

    'Liveliness invention and effortless appeal' **** The Times

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Annabel Arden, Director

    Co-founder of Complicite, Annabel Arden is a successful opera and theatre director. She also teaches extensively for Complicite

    Judith Dimant, Producer

    Judith Dimant has worked at Complicite since 1993, since 1996 she has produced every production, touring the work all over the world

    Poppy Keeling, Assistant Producer And Creative Learning

    Poppy Keeling is the Assistant Producer of Lionboy and also runs Complicite's Creative Learning Department