Now booking Tate Modern Performance

The Head & the Load William Kentridge

© Stella Olivier

Tate Modern joins forces with 14–18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, to commemorate the significant contribution of African men and women in this conflict

The world premiere of this major new work is performed against the dramatic backdrop of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. William Kentridge’s latest project combines music, dance, film projections, mechanised sculptures and shadow play to create an imaginative landscape on an epic scale. It tells the untold story of the hundreds of thousands of African porters and carriers who served in British, French and German forces during the First World War.

One of South Africa’s leading composers, Philip Miller, and musical director Thuthuka Sibisi create an original score that draws on a wide range of traditions. Orchestra collective The Knights perform along with an international cast of singers, dancers and performers, many of whom are based in South Africa.

two people stand with a musical instrument

© Stella Olivier

three people stand with a projected airplane

© Stella Olivier

four men stand in colourful uniforms

© Stella Olivier

a man plays an oversized horn

© Stella Olivier

people stand on ladders with a headpiece behind a digital projection

© Stella Olivier

people play instruments in a room with projections

© Stella Olivier

a woman walks

© Stella Olivier

The Head & the Load is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Commissions, Park Avenue Armory, and Ruhrtriennale, with additional support from Holland Festival.

World premiere in London at Tate Modern, produced by THE OFFICE performing arts + film in association with Quaternaire. 14-18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England & Heritage Lottery Fund and by the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport.

The Head & the Load acknowledges the kind assistance of Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery in this project.

Tate Modern

Turbine Hall

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


11–15 July 2018



Are you aged 16–25? Register for Tate Collective and get tickets for only £5

If you have access requirements please contact us by phone on +44 (0)20 7887 8888 (9.45–18.00 daily) or by email at

For further information see booking FAQs

Related events

Tate Modern Private View

Drinks Reception and Limited Edition Launch

13 Jun 2018

Join us for a drinks reception and launch of a series of new limited editions by William Kentridge

Tate Modern Film

William Kentridge: Shadow Processions

4 Jul 2018

Enjoy a selection of short animated films by South African artist William Kentridge

Tate Modern Talk

William Kentridge in Conversation

14 Jul 2018

Hear acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge discuss his most ambitious project to date

We recommend

Inspired by

Claudia Rankine on William Kentridge

Watch poet and author, Claudia Rankine discuss William Kentridge and his artwork that encompasses both beauty and politics


William Kentridge: ‘Art must defend the uncertain’

His studio in Johannesburg is a ‘vital physical and psychic space’ where he conceives and develops his ambitious projects

Find out more