In 1999, 10 young Londoners and 20 young South Africans from Guateng, the North West and Northern Provinces and the Western Cape came together to explore London over an intensive three-week period.
At the heart of Be Yourself lay the idea of looking at London through the eyes of another. A series of cultural tours provoked a debate about institutions and the imaginary cultural maps people hold in their heads of cities in foreign countries. Through discussions, drawings, soundscapes and choreography, the South Africans examined their preconceptions of London, while the Londoners used the same methods to imagine how their city might appear to a newcomer.
The show was one of the highlights of Lift 99 and garnered this response from The Guardian’s Lyn Gardner said this about the piece ‘If I tell you that one of the most moving, exuberant and visually stunning shows to see in London is a youth production devised and performed by a group of South African and London teenagers, you will probably be skeptical. But Be Yourself is really terrific. The production uses the full height of the auditorium and repeatedly takes the show into the audience: you feel as though you have been thrust into the veryheart of the city, into its smells, sounds and sights. It is an exhilarating and truly brilliant achievement.