A combination of hip hop, afro-beat, R’n’B, theatre and multimedia, 'The Deep North' is a celebration of the African Australian diaspora.

The Deep North

An African Australian Musical

Adelaide Festival Centre & South Australian Playwrights Theatre

The Deep North tells the story of Jasmine Mutesa, who has to choose between a scholarship at one of Adelaide’s most prestigious schools and keeping her family from falling apart in Port Augusta. Written by playwright Matt Hawkins (Frank Forbes and the Yahoo Boy), with compositions and performances by James Bannah Jr and Elsy Wameyo and featuring a stellar cast including renowned Adelaide MC Stephen Tongun, The Deep North is an entertaining and empowering story about finding your voice and the meaning of home.

Presented by South Australian Playwrights Theatre, a company committed to new theatrical work from the state’s diverse voices, The Deep North is the first African Australian musical.

Director Matt Hawkins explains: “It is important for us to provide an opportunity for African Australians to see themselves on stage and to present the rich and diverse stories of the African diaspora. The challenges of living across two, or more, countries and the development of hybrid cultures will be something to celebrate."

Creative Team

Matt Hawkins - Writer, Director & Performer
Elsy Wameyo & James Bannah Jr - Performers & Composers
Stephen Tongun - Performer
Jennifer Trijo – Performer
Tumelo Nthupi – Performer
Prosper Hakizimana - Performer
Vivana Luzochimana - Performer
Lucy Combe - Producer

★★★★★ A rich, emotional, musical and theatrical performance…The smart, witty script combined with catchy songwriting and brilliant performances illuminate the stage… The Advertiser

Creative Team Bios

Elsy Wameyo

Hip-Hop/Soul Singer/Songwriter Elsy Wameyo was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1999. She stages diversity in her music, embodying the soulful rhythms influenced by her Christian experiences to energetic and poetic verses induced to challenge societies boundaries. After being the first woman to collaborate with record label Playback 808, Elsy has performed alongside artists such as Grammy award-winning musician/singer/songwriter Printz Board, Maségo, Lady Léshur, Sampa the Great and Hilltop Hoods. Featuring on stages such as Groovin’ The Moo, St Jerome's Laneway Festival & The Root Down Festival. Elsy was Awarded Young Kenyan of the Year and Best New Artist In 2018. Along with other nominations including Best World Music at The South Australian Music Awards 2018. In 2019, she was awarded the people’s choice Best Hip Hop artist and later picked up the Creative Development award at the Channel 7 Young Achiever Awards.

Stephen Tongun
Uncle Ebby

Stephen Tongun is a graduate of Flinders University Law School, Steve is also an actor, MC, and professional motivator. His outstanding theatrical performances over the last ten years have included Beckett for Independent Theatre, Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing and Oladoe Equiano in My Lover’s Eye by the Company of Muses; as well as starring in Frank Forbes and the Yahoo Boy and Bordertown (play and audio serial) for South Australian Playwrights Theatre. For screen, he appeared in the feature film Escape from Pretoria, ABC TV series Stateless and most recently in Netflix’s Spiderhead with Chris Hemsworth. He is a member of the ‘SANAA: A better world through creativity’ team and frequently performs and presents at their events. For State Theatre Company of South Australia, Stephen performed in Dry, the Adelaide season and regional tour. He played Uncle Ebby for the original season of The Deep North for the 2021 Adelaide Fringe season.

Jennifer Trijo
Ms Mendoza

Jennifer Trijo is a Filipino-Australian multi-disciplinary creative based in Adelaide. She holds a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education (UNSW) and honed her craft as a cabaret singer and musician, touring with Skeed Entertainment. She is credited in notable theatre productions as a performer, orchestral musician, composer, and music director, and made her professional debut as Kim in the Australian tour of Miss Saigon. She has written and produced the critically-acclaimed show Someday – a Mindful Cabaret which features her original music combined with spoken word and motivational talks based on mindfulness and psychology. Other career highlights include the role of Baruska in the Australian production of Once the Musical (Darlinghurst Theatre Company/Black Swan State Theatre Company), and originating the roles of Hua Mulan/Pocahontas/Princess Badroulbadour in the Australian premiere of Disenchanted: The Musical (Mad About Theatre). Jennifer performed her original compositions at the 2021 Pinoy Street Party production in the OzAsia Festival. She was also selected by artistic director Annette Shun Wah as a participant for the inaugural SA Artist Lab by Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP). Jennifer is an actor at ActNow Theatre, a musician in the Nexus Arts Orchestra, and a voice coach at the Elder Conservatorium of Music training emerging music theatre artists.

Tumelo Nthupi

Tumelo is an Australian/South African actor and hip-hop artist. He played Luca in Seven Siblings from the Future with MOD (Museum of Discovery). In Alice Maio MacKay’s feature film So Vam he played Andy. Most recently, he appeared in a Fantastic Noodle television commercial. Tumelo played Ben in the 2021 Adelaide Fringe season of The Deep North.

Prosper Hakizimana

Prosper is an Adelaide based Burundian-Australian multi-disciplinary artist. His most prominent avenues of expression include popular use of visual arts, movement, dance, theatre, and spoken word. Prosper’s work often depicts themes and subjects of the human condition, pain, pleasure, love, loss, and the individual self, amongst others, with his influences ranging from Hip-Hop, Blues, Indie-folk, and popular cinema & literature. Since 2021 Prosper has starred in the Adelaide Fringe theatre and spoken word show Journey, headlined for multiple WritersSA writers’ festivals, showcased as a dancer and model in multiple music videos, and most recently featured in the theatre production Unheard for the Adelaide Festival Centre's inSPACE Development Program.

Vivana Luzochimana
Jasmine Understudy

Vivana is a Burundian-Australian creative based in Adelaide, South Australia. In 2021, Vivana was part of the Journey Fringe show; a collective music, theatre, dance and spoken word show that featured emerging artists sharing stories of their journey into a society that others them. She also appeared as part of the Mental Health Coalition of SA’s poetry Prescribed event, held as part of Mental Health Month. Most recently, Vivana was part of the Unheard development project supported by the Adelaide Festival Centre; here she told stories of a colourist world through spoken word poetry and dance. Her own spoken word work involves storytelling, theatre characterised by word play, repetition, improvisation, and fragmentation as they often carry themes of community, disconnection to homeland, identity and becoming a stranger to oneself. She is a psychology major, a model, storyteller, and creative performer.

James Bannah Jr.

Having begun his music career in 2015, James became an autodidact drummer and multi-instrumentalist. After dedicating a strenuous amount of time towards cultivating himself as a musician, James took a leap of faith in pursuing his dreams and aspirations, enrolling in the Bachelor of Music program at Tabor College in 2019. James soon found himself working regularly alongside Adelaide’s, then emerging and now established Kenyan artist, Elsy Wameyo, performing at festivals and opening for major artists such as Sampa the Great, Adrian Eagle, Laneway and Groovin The Moo. In 2020 James composed the music for original production of The Deep North and performed the music live for each performance.

Matt Hawkins
Mr Clay; Writer & Director

Matt is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose credits include The Micallef Program (ABC), Always Greener (7 Network) and Life Support (SBS). His feature films and shorts have appeared in over 30 international film festivals and his work has been loved by audiences in Australia, the UK and Ghana. Matt lectures in screenwriting and dramaturgy at Flinders University. For South Australian Playwrights Theatre, he wrote and directed Frank Forbes and the Yahoo Boy in 2018 of which was nominated for best professional production at the Adelaide Theatre Guide’s Curtain Call Awards, as well as the play and audio serial Bordertown (2019 & 2020). For Playwriting Australia’s Dear Australia, he wrote the monologue Unconditional Love. He wrote and directed the original production of The Deep North for the 2021 Adelaide Fringe Festival. As an actor he has performed in numerous short films and plays over the past twenty years and most recently in Alex Vickery-Howe’s Watchlist in June 2021.

Lucy Combe

Lucy is a writer, teacher and producer. She graduated from the University of Adelaide (Drama Studies) in 1999, and subsequently founded Newfangled Productions as well as working on WOMADelaide for Arts Projects Australia.  For many years she lived in the UK working in Arts based roles. She has a Grad. Dip. in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London.  In Melbourne, she worked with Western Edge Youth Arts (WEYA), assisting young refugees in the writing of Old Ghosts, New Land for the Big West Festival.  For South Australian Playwrights Theatre, Lucy wrote and produced The Middle Way and the monologue Flesh for Playwriting Australia’s Dear Australia project. Her latest play, Recalibrate, was shortlisted for the 2022 Jill Blewitt Playwriting Award. She produced Matt Hawkins’ Bordertown and The Deep North for the 2021 Adelaide Fringe as well as Alex Vickery-Howe’s Watchlist in June 2021.


Image Credit: Wendy Kimpton & Matt Hawkins
Video Credit: Taia Doyle

You might also enjoy…


28 Sep – 1 Oct 2022

Duration 90mins


Wed, 28 Sep 2022, 7:00PM

Thu, 29 Sep 2022, 11:30AM

Thu, 29 Sep 2022, 7:00PM

Fri, 30 Sep 2022, 7:00PM

Sat, 1 Oct 2022, 7:00PM


Space Theatre


Ages 12 and up



General Admission $30.00


Concession $25.00

Fees & Charges

A one off service and handling fee of $9.25 applies per transaction; this is regardless of the number or value of items purchased.

You might also enjoy…