The international success of Gumboots is down to a potent mix of heart-stopping dancing, body percussion, beautiful male vocal a-cappella harmonies, hypnotic rhythms, virtuoso drumming and infectious laughter and storytelling.
Gumboots was born formed by a 6-man troupe trained by the formidable Mrs Makhudu at the Thabisong Youth Club in Soweto. After seeing them perform, Garry and his partners created GUMBOOTS – which premiered at the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa on June 29, 1999. The production sold out within days, earning standing ovations at every performance.
With its beginnings in the South African mines, Gumboot dancing started when miners were given Wellington boots to combat the foot rot in the mines. The miners, unable to speak in the pitch-blackness developed a secret language using boot-slapping; this unique form of morse code gradually evolved into a dance form and made its way onto the streets and into the Soweto clubs.
Garry and his partners developed the show and launched it at the Edinburgh Festival in 1999 where it quickly became the hit of the festival. After that, they toured internationally and became a worldwide success playing multiple seasons in Germany and France, North America (including an extended season at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal) and the United Kingdom (including a season at the Lyric Theatre on London’s West End).
In 2019 a contemporary Gumboots paying homage to the international hit (but with updated vision and the original company and producing team) will be launched at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before going on international tour. Working with members of the original creative team and international partners (BB Promotion and Thierry Suc) the show will be re-conceived to reflect recent events in present-day South Africa.
*Produced by RGM Productions in association with BB Promotion and Thierry Suc.