The CCL Postcolonial Theatre series, May 2022

This series of talks by members of the Goldsmiths Department of Theatre and Performance will examine how contemporary theatre from the UK, USA, France and West Africa is staging legacies of colonial history in postcolonial societies today.

The series, starting in May 2022, will bring together Sola Adeyemi, Clare Finburgh Delijani and Tiziana Morosetti.

All talks will be online and will start at 6pm.

Booking will be free but it will be necessary for each event to receive a link to attend.


5 May 2022. ‘Hear the Bones Sing’: Postcolonial Ghost Plays.

A Talk by Clare Finburgh-Delijani

Romney, The Ghost of Darius Appearing to Atossa (1778)

What can ghosts teach us about how to live together in postcolonial societies such as the UK or France?

Clare Finburgh Delijani’s paper examines how a range of playwrights on both sides of the Atlantic are evoking colonial pasts, and their impact on the present, via ghosts. Revenants in these plays return to demand repair for injustices perpetrated in the past. At the same time, spectres create a doubling, the indeterminacy of which troubles monocultural notions of national identity, instead proposing postcolonial societies as a multi-ethnic and multidenominational.

The talk will be chaired by Mairi Neeves.

Read more and book. 


19 May 2022. Reimagining the Victorian Past in African and in Black Diasporic Theatre

A talk by Tiziana Morosetti

Camille Silvy, Portrait of Sarah Forbes Bonetta (1862)

Several African American and Black British playwrights have engaged in the past 25 years with material from the Victorian past. If issues of slavery and segregation have been at the forefront, aligning theatre to neo-Victorian and neo-Slavery narratives, Black playwrights have also engaged with specific figures from the long 19th century. Tiziana Morosetti’s paper will consider recent Black British plays that specifically engage with the Victorian past and will compare them to two Nigerian examples that display similar engagement. The paper will argue these examples, while displaying a closer focus on African history and overall different aesthetics, complement the vision of Black British playwrights by commenting on, and proposing counter-narratives to, the relation between Black cultures and white British power during the reign of Victoria.

The talk will be chaired by Lynette Goddard.

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26 May 2022. Refracted from the Canon: The Transmuted Form of Europe’s Ambassador to Africa

A talk by Sola Adeyemi

Gbádo, a warrior masquerade from Imesi-Ile, Yorubaland

In this presentation, Sola Adeyemi will explore the idea of tragedy from the perspective of Yoruba culture, framing this exploration from the refracted premise of classical European canon and how the meaning of tragedy has been altered to become part of the arsenal of anticolonial agency as deployed to the consecrated ritual space of the Yoruba people of West Africa. Focusing on the re-reading – or re-interpretation – of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and Euripides’ Bacchae, the talk aims to show that the process of re-interpreting the essence of the canonical god in the new space of Yoruba culture, or of translating the attributes with a new understanding and awareness, is more dialectical and more interwoven than the historical or anthropological process of re-working canonical texts by African writers.

The talk will be chaired by Samuel Kasula.

Read more and book.