The Gospel of Othello « Tribal Soul


The Gospel of Othello


This pro­gramme brings par­tic­i­pants together with pro­fes­sional artists and the­atre mak­ers to develop and stage their own ver­sion of Oth­ello. The lab process engages with move­ment, impro­vi­sa­tion, song, dance, and ensem­ble act­ing, meld­ing Shake­spearean verse with the ver­nac­u­lar of com­mu­ni­ties in order to inter­ro­gate socially rel­e­vant themes. We focus on key themes such as gen­der rela­tions, exile, racism/tribalism, and ‘oth­er­ing’. The rehearsal method encour­ages par­tic­i­pants to voice their under­stand­ing of the themes, and to exchange ideas on social change. The sec­ond phase of the project sup­ports the group to pro­duce per­for­mances of the ver­sion of The Gospel of Oth­ello they have cre­ated, open­ing up a con­ver­sa­tion with the broader community.

This pro­gramme builds on estab­lished com­mu­nity the­atre and devel­op­ment work by offer­ing an African diaspora/global per­spec­tive. Our artists are steeped in dias­pora life expe­ri­ence and have the advan­tage of being able to observe and cre­ate from mul­ti­ple cul­tural per­spec­tives. The project is not merely an oppor­tu­nity for skilled mem­bers of the dias­pora to use their train­ing and expe­ri­ence gained out­side of Africa to assist in local capac­ity build­ing; it also serves as a con­duit for valu­ing and repo­si­tion­ing South­ern local knowl­edges and sen­si­bil­i­ties within the global North.

“This is a ground­break­ing ini­tia­tive that works to bring a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent cul­tural per­spec­tives to bear on Shakespeare’s text, allow­ing ‘Oth­ello’ to be re-imagined in a way that opens up key ques­tions about
race, iden­tity and belong­ing.“
Dr. James Moran, Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor in Drama
Uni­ver­sity of Not­ting­ham


  1. Par­tic­i­pants learn valu­able skills in the per­form­ing arts, man­age­ment, the­atre pro­duc­tion, work­shop facil­i­ta­tion, and education
  2. Par­tic­i­pants work together with highly-skilled and expe­ri­enced inter­na­tional pro­fes­sion­als, pro­vid­ing the oppor­tu­nity to tap into cre­ative net­works in their home coun­try and abroad
  3. Aspir­ing and pro­fes­sional artists/producers may be pro­vided with cre­ative entre­pre­neur­ial and appren­tice­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties, and con­tin­ued skills development
  4. Par­tic­i­pants are empow­ered to mount their own ver­sion of The Gospel of Oth­ello, and given the nec­es­sary train­ing and sup­port to func­tion autonomously once the project has concluded
  5. Per­for­mances of The Gospel of Oth­ello will be used as a start­ing point to encour­age com­mu­nity dia­logue about key issues such as gen­der rela­tions, racism and migra­tion. Dis­cus­sions take place through forms such as post-show dis­cus­sions, debates, and par­tic­i­pa­tory workshops


The Gospel of Oth­ello has been facil­i­tated in the UK, South Africa, Canada and Zim­babwe with pro­fes­sional and emerg­ing artists, as well as school chil­dren and com­mu­nity participants.

We devote the core prin­ci­ples of pro­fes­sion­al­ism, dis­ci­pline and cre­ativ­ity to any group of par­tic­i­pants irre­spec­tive of artis­tic expe­ri­ence. These are the same prin­ci­ples required for any enter­prise or com­mu­nity cohe­sion endeavor.


Footscray Com­mu­nity Arts Cen­tre and the Insti­tute of Post­colo­nial Stud­ies: Mel­bourne, Australia


Int­wasa Fes­ti­val: Bul­awayo, Zim­babwe
British Coun­cil Supported

Cana­dian Stage’s Fes­ti­val of Ideas and Cre­ation: Toronto, Canada

Harare, Zim­babwe


Int­wasa Fes­ti­val: Bul­awayo, Zim­babwe
British Coun­cil Supported


Port St John Junior School: South Africa

Chapel­town, Leeds, UK
Co-produced by The People’s Arts Coun­cil in Asso­ci­a­tion with The Royal Shake­speare Com­pany and The Leeds Bi-Centenary Trans­for­ma­tion Project



Patrice Naiambana
Harold George



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