Skip to main content Skip to navigation

In Robeson's Footsteps

British Black and Asian Shakespeare Now

On 15 January 2016 the Multicutural Shakespeare in Britain project in collaboration with the Centre for Global Shakespeare, celebrated at the Tricycle Theatre in London the extraordinary contribution that British Black and Asian actors and directors have made - and are making -to the performance and re-interpretation of Shakespeare's plays.

The programme, which showcased the research outcomes of the Multicultural Shakespeare in Britain project, was in two parts:

1. This Island's Mine: Shakespeare's Communites Today

The Multicultural Shakespeare researchers joined members of Global Shakespeare to document and contextualise BAME performers' crucial yet still undervalued contribution to our understanding of Shakespeare:

Videos of papers by Professor Tony Howard ('"Ariel's Island": How Multicultural Shakespeare has Challenged and Changed Us') and Sita Thomas ('Bollywoodizing Shakespeare: Phizzical Productions' Praxis of Theatrical Adaptation'), as well as the launch of the BBAS Performance Database by Dr Jami Rogers ('Uncovering the "Black Canon": The Findings of the British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database') can be seen below.

2. In Robeson's Footsteps

Tony Howard drew on the experiences of the dozens of actors and directors, interviewed for the Multicultural Shakespeare project, to create this dramatized account of the history of BAME Shakespeare in the twentieth century. A rehearsed reading was performed by Rakie Ayola, Simon Manyonda and Nicholas Bailey, directed by Tom Cornford. More about the docu-drama and the performers can be found here. The performance can be seen here:

Audience response to the event and to the Multicultural Shakespeare project can be viewed here: