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

Programme [PDF 373 Kb]

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

Produced by THE OFFICE performing arts + film in association with Quaternaire.

World premiere in London at Tate Modern with support from the Naomi Milgrom Foundation.

14–18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, and by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

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

Full credits [PDF 236 Kb]

Tate Modern

Turbine Hall

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


11 July 2018 at 19.00–20.30

12 July 2018 at 19.00–20.30

13 July 2018 at 20.00–21.30

14 July 2018 at 16.00–17.30

14 July 2018 at 20.00–21.30

15 July 2018 at 13.00–14.30

15 July 2018 at 16.00–17.30

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