Jessica L. Hagan and Ryan Calais Cameron
Presented by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Supported by Factory International and Arts Council England
photos: Ali Wright
“A furious, poetic riposte to ‘misogynoir’ – the place where racism and sexism intersect for black women”
-THE UK STANDARD
The four powerful Black women that form the beating heart of Jessica L. Hagan’s knowingly sharp and riotously funny choreopoem Queens of Sheba demand respect and, with every story told, they earn it. A spiritual successor to Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, Queens of Sheba incisively calls out and lances the constellation of racist, sexist, and colorist micro and macro-aggressions that its characters encounter: the music and the misogyny, the dancing and the drinking, the women and, of course, the (white) men. Turned away from a nightclub for being “too black”, the Queens navigate the minefields of misogynoir, seeking power among the songs of Tina Turner and Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin, finding elevation in sisterhood, sweet relief in the riot of laughter and the shedding of tears. Playful, intellectually rigorous, packed with righteous fury and genuine soul, Queens of Sheba is a unique meditation on Black Women’s identity, suffering and joy.
“Gives insight to the black female experience, but is fundamentally about speaking one’s own truth.”
– THE GUARDIAN
Friday, January 5 @ 9:00 pm
Saturday, January 6 @ 6:00 pm
Sunday, January 7 @ 9:00 pm
Tuesday, January 9 @ 6:00 pm
Wednesday, January 10 @ 9:00 pm
Thursday, January 11 @ 6:00 pm
Friday, January 12 @ 9:00 pm
Saturday, January 13 @ 6:00 pm
Run time: 60 minutes
Presented by Nouveau Riche and Soho Theatre
Written by Jessica L. Hagan
Adapted by Ryan Calais Cameron
Directed by Jessica Kaliisa
Cast: Paisley Billings, Déja J Bowens, Jadesola Odunjo, Muki Zubis
Producer for Nouveau Riche: Sarah Verghese
Producers for Soho Theatre: David Luff and Maddie Wilson
Communications & Marketing: Yasmin Mehboob-Khan
Stage Manager: Marie Angelique St Hill
Vocal Coach: Theo Llewellyn
Movement Director: Yami Löfvenberg
Voice & Movement Coach: Greta Mendez
Associate Director: Abigail ‘Töpia’ Adebayo
Original Movement Director: Yassmin V Foster
Production Dramatherapist: Wabriya King
Supported by Factory International
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Jessica Hagan is a Ghanaian-British writer who heavily explores themes of identity, displacement and misogynoir in her work. Her debut play, Queens of Sheba, co-written with Ryan Calais Cameron, won the Untapped Award 2018. The play went to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2018 and had a successful sold-out 4 week run with 4 and 5 star reviews across the board and won The Stage Award 2018. Jessica is a spoken word artist and spends her time in both London and Ghana. In Ghana, she works with emerging playwrights through workshopping and is a grant maker for creative organizations across the continent.
Ryan Calais Cameron is an award-winning Writer, Actor and Theatre Maker. For Nouveau Riche, Ryan has written Queens of Sheba (co-written with Jessica Hagan) and Typical (starring Richard Blackwood), sell-out hits at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018 and 2019 respectively, winning The Stage Edinburgh Fringe Award. Ryan was the winner of Best Director (For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy) at the Black British Awards 2022. Ryan has been chosen as one of “The Stage 25” 2022 list of future stars of the UK theater industry.
Nouveau Riche is a multi award-winning creative movement, headed by a team of professional performing artists and producers. Our objective is to discover, nurture and produce unique stories with a keen scope on work that is both educational and entertaining. Nouveau Riche have set out to create and nurture new writing that is thought provoking, challenging and culturally inclusive. The most common theme in our work is that we tend to depart from traditional Western storytelling, experimenting with fresh, contemporary, and unconventional methods.
We are Factory International: producers of extraordinary art from world-renowned figures to Manchester’s rising stars. Whether you’re into music, dance, performance, theater, exhibitions or gaming, we’ve got something for you. But don’t expect your run-of-the-mill programme – we pride ourselves on bringing different artists and types of art together. This is Manchester, after all – a city with a history of innovation that’s hard to beat. With our vision to invent tomorrow together, we’ve always got an eye on the future. We’re all about new ways of creating and collaborating to bring you unforgettable art and experiences. At our new home Aviva Studios, you’ll find a year-round programme that does just that.
Queens of Sheba is supported by Arts Council England.