The Gospel of Othello comes to Theatre in the Park

The Gospel of Othello, a reworking of Shakespeare’s classic play, Othello, is coming to Theatre in the Park.

The play premieres on Tuesday 3 April 2012 and runs until 21 April 2012.

The play was first shown in Zimbabwe at Solusi University during the annual Intwasa Arts Festival in Bulawayo last year. It has also been shown at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).

The fast paced Afro-centric play is infused with African songs, dance and poetry in its quest to interrogate Shakespeare’s portrayal of Africa, its people and culture. It also tries to address the major themes of racism, stereotyping, deceit and hatred in the face of love, evidenced in the Elizabethan period, and also in today’s Africa.

The play was conceptualised by Patrice Naimbana, a Sierra Leon theatre veteran who is currently based in the United Kingdom. The cast and production team features local and international actors who combined to create this masterpiece.

Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi plays “Othello”, while Londoner Isabel Tredinick who is currently based in Zimbabwe is “Desdemona”. Veteran theatre pracritoner Eunice Tava is the co-director.

The Gospel of Othello has been facilitated in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and Zimbabwe with professional and emerging artists. It is a project established as a community theatre for development with an African perspective.


Our women bear the pain of absence when our sons and daugh¬ters leave home for far¬away lands, what strange fruit will our land bear the ances¬tors of the future? The love between the ‘Black Oth¬ello’ and the beau¬ti¬ful Ital¬ian Des¬de¬mona tran-scends all bar¬ri¬ers but this is not enough to avert a tragic train of events. Will their story uplift or destroy the spir¬its of his peo¬ple? What do Africans make of Shakespeare’s por¬trayal of this son of Africa? The Gospel of Oth¬ello high¬lights the predica¬ment of exile in Shakespeare’s story of love, betrayal and “out¬sider-ness.” Per¬formed in a mix¬ture of Shona, Nde¬bele, and Shake¬spear¬ian verse, The Gospel of Oth¬ello offers us a fresh way of see¬ing Othello.

Cast Members

Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi – Oth¬ello

Izzy Tredin¬nick – Des¬de¬mona

Mhondiwa Mhepo – Iago

Zanele Maseko – Emilia

Shel¬ton Mpofu – Cas¬sio

Brenda Jer¬anje – Bianca

Pamela Gonye – Mod¬iba

Rejoice Simango – Kiara

Josphat Ndlovu – Bra¬ban¬tio & Griot


Patrice Naiambana: Concept and facilitation

Patrice is an African per¬form¬ing artist from Sierra Leone, cur¬rently based in Birm-ing¬ham. He founded arts company Tribal Soul in 1991 as a means to make vis¬i¬ble sto¬ries from African Dias¬pora expe¬ri¬ences, in response to sim¬plis¬tic rep¬re¬sen¬ta¬tions of Africans in the West. Patrice’s pro¬fes¬sional back¬ground includes work with the Royal Shake¬speare Com¬pany, most recently play¬ing the title role in Kathryn Hunter’s Oth¬ello, and War¬wick the King¬maker in the Olivier Award-winning His-to¬ries Cycle Ensem¬ble. He starred as Gen¬eral Mukata in the Chan¬nel 4 sit¬com In Exile, and has pro¬vided voices for the award-winning BBC ani¬ma¬tion series Nina and The Neu¬rons and Tinga Tinga Tales. His Edin¬burgh Fringe First Award-winning solo show The Man Who Committed Thought has been tour¬ing inter¬na-tion¬ally for the last two years. His pas¬sion is per¬for¬mance for social transformation.

Fisani Nkomo: Production Manager

Fisani was born in 1971 at Mnene Hospital, in Mberengwa District, Zimbabwe. He is a self-taught artist. He grew up, was educated, works, and lives in Bulawayo. He a resident artist at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, aspiring curator, and arts facilitator with a passion for lobbying and networking with other artists or arts groups thereby creating synergies. His works have been mainly focusing on social and political issues and is inspired majorly by what happens around him. His work has been showcased at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo and Harare, Gallery Delta- Harare, Moja Modern Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, Gallery Jam Factory in the UK. He has private collections in the UK, France, USA, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Germany, Tanzania and Botswana. In 2011, he was Project Coordinator and Stage Manager for The Gospel of Othello at HIFA and Intwasa Arts Festival.

Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi: Othello

Bob is a performer, director, and voice artist from Harare. Since 2008, Bob has been a fixture at the Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA), performing in such plays as Colours of Dreams (dir. Eunice Tava), I Have A Dream (dir. Sonia Norris), Election Day (dir. Eunice Tava), and Yours Abundantly From Zimbabwe (dir. Zane E Lucas). He was featured in the films Heartbreak (2009) and Nothing (2008). Bob has also done a variety of work in radio and voiceover, and won the silver medal in the Power in the Voice spoken word competition for Southern Africa. From 2006-8, he was coordinator or the monthly I Have A Dream… poetry slam. Since 2009, he has been leading weekly poetry, Theatre of the Oppressed, and puppetry training sessions for children in Harare. Bob plays Othello in The Gospel of Othello.

Izzy Treddinick: Desdemona

Londoner Izzy Tredinnick moved to Zimbabwe in November 2007 to be involved in grassroots level peace-building work. Since early 2009 she's been active in the creative arts scene in Bulawayo. A keen actor, while gaining her BA in English Studies, Izzy was an active member of the student theatre company at the University of Nottingham and then went on to train via intensive summer programmes at The London of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD). She is particularly inspired by physical theatre work and enjoys finding creative ways of using the body to tell stories. Since 2009 she has co-run two regular arts events in Bulawayo: The Green Room Theatre Event and The Lounge Open Mic Night and worked with Siyaya Arts on various projects, including the show Zambezi Express and the annual Ibumba festival. Involved with The Gospel of Othello since 2010, Izzy has played Desdemona at both HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) and Intwasa festivals. In addition to theatre, Izzy has performed with Zimbabwean music groups, Flame of Africa and Bongo Love.

Mhondiwa Mhepo: Iago

Mhondiwa’s journey into the arts kicked off in 1993, when he took part in Amakhosi Theatre’s Children’s Programmes. There he was trained in performing arts skills ranging from dance and music to poetry and drama. In 1998, he enrolled at Cont Institute (an arts training school under Amakhosi Theatre) where he trained in Arts Management. He also learned technical skills for stage, lights, sound, props, makeup, camera and computers. During his studies, Mhondiwa produced theatre productions that went on National Tours under the National Amateur Theatre Centre (NATC). Mhondiwa currently runs an arts company (VINE ARTS) in Bulawayo, which specialises in contemporary dance. He sings, writes short stories and plays, and directs and produces theatre and music performances. He plays Iago in The Gospel of Othello.

Rejoice Simango: Kiara

Rejoice was born in 1991 in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. She currently lives in Bulawayo, and is a freelance actress and aspiring writer and director. From 2008 to 2010, she was trained by School Play Wrights and Actors Academy. During this period she took part in a number of plays, namely, She No Longer Weeps, Choose Life, The Two Wives of John Mambo, and The Woman Who Did Not Belong To A Political Party, all of which were part of the Intwasa Arts Festival 2008—2010. Rejoice also participated at HIFA 2010 with The Woman Who Did Not Belong To A Political Party, and in 2011 with The Gospel of Othello. She has also participated in the European Dance Festival Du Sud in July—August 2011 with Amawumo dance company. Rejoice is also one of the founding members of VanaVe Zimbabwe, and a former board member. She plays Kiara in The Gospel of Othello.

Pamela Gonye: Modiba

Pamela is an actress and singer from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Pamela started acting at the age of sixteen, mainly in productions with the Bulawayo Theater. She has performed in such productions as: Cinderella (dir. Brian Meikle); Little Red Riding Hood (dir. Dave Adams); Time Will Tell (dir. John Nathan); and King Mizilikazi Cont Mhlanga (dir. Bongani Ngema). She has been a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra Choir, directed by Felix Westwood, as well as the Mastcato Youth Choir in Namibia. She has performed in The Gospel of Othello at HIFA and Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo, playing Modiba.

Zanele Maseko: Emilia

Zanele was born in 1984 at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo Central District. She is a professional dancer, and has recently begun to cultivate a passion for acting in the theatre. Zanele was nominated for Outstanding Female Dancer at NAMA (the National Arts Merit Awards). She has performed at festivals in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, and Algeria. She plays Emilia in The Gospel of Othello, which she has performed at HIFA and Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo.

Post published in: Arts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *