Mojisola Adebayo is a South-London born, Nigerian / Danish performer, playwright, producer, director, workshop facilitator and teacher. Mojisola is a part-time Lecturer in Contemporary Theatre Practices and Dramaturgy in the Department of Theatre and Performance working on a 0.5 basis.
She is an active practitioner / researcher and is completing her practice-as-research PhD at Queen Mary University, which explores ways of challenging homophobia in Africa and the Diaspora and creating space for black / queer ‘togetherness’, through theatre productions and participatory projects. She is a prolific professional international theatre artist / academic.
Areas of supervision
Practice-as-research in performance making, community / theatre for social change and Theatre of the Oppressed (applied theatre), autobiographical performance, physical theatre, black and queer theatre.
Since graduating from Goldsmiths with a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre Arts in 1993, Mojisola has acted in over 40 theatre, television and radio productions, devised, scripted and directed over 30 scripts for stage and video and has lead countless workshops and training courses. She has worked on international theatre projects, has toured her work and has been invited to speak across the world including Antarctica, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greenland, India, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, the USA and Zimbabwe.
Her wide and diverse work with a huge variety of companies has ranged from being an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company to co-founding VIDYA, a slum dweller’s forum theatre company in Ahmedabad, India. Her industry CV is available to view on her website.
All of Mojisola’s work is concerned with power, identity, personal and social change. Having trained extensively with and also worked alongside Augusto Boal, she is a specialist facilitator in Theatre of the Oppressed and theatre for social change more broadly, being invited to work particularly in areas of conflict and crisis with a range of diverse community groups. She also trained in and has a Masters (with distinction) in Physical Theatre (Royal Holloway / University of Surrey). The work she makes is physical, poetic, political, interdisciplinary, multi-sensory and accessible. Mojisola regularly attracts funding and support from Arts Council England and British Council.
- BA Drama and Theatre Arts (Hons)
- MA Physical Theatre (distinction)
- PhD Candidate at Queen Mary, University of London
Mojisola teaches Theatre Making at various levels, the ‘Self’ option (autobiographical performance) on the Questions of Performance module at Level 2 and also contributes to the MA Applied Drama, of which she was formerly a Convenor. Mojisola is a Senior Tutor, where she focuses on pastoral support for students. She is also the Goldsmiths’ Academic Link for the BA Acting Programme at Lasalle in Singapore.
Mojisola has written poetry for many years and even had a stint as a teenage rapper. However, it was in 2005 that she embarked upon writing plays as her primary artistic focus, through her landmark production, Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey, which was researched on Antarctica in 2005 and performed at Lyric Hammersmith, Oval House Theatre, Queer up North and had a British Council African tour. She followed this with Muhammad Ali and Me (Oval House, 2008) and Matt Henson, North Star (2009), developed in Greenland through Cape Farewell (Lyric Hammersmith).
Her first commission was Desert Boy (Nitro, Albany and national tour, 2010). 48 Minutes for Palestine, a collaboration with Ashtar Theatre Palestine, has been touring all over the world since 2010. The Listeners, a play for young actors, commissioned by Pegasus Theatre Company, in partnership with The Samaritans (Oxford) premiered in March 2012. She wrote Asara and the Sea-Monstress as a Writer-on-Attachment with Unicorn and Birmingham Rep in 2012. The play had a staged reading at Albany and will go into production in 2018 (tbc).
I Stand Corrected, created in collaboration with dancer and choreographer Mamela Nyamza and commissioned by Artscape, South Africa, premiered in Cape Town in August 2012. The show played to rave reviews and received multiple award nominations at Ovalhouse in November / December 2012 as well as playing at Soweto Theatre in 2013 and Singapore International Festival of the Arts in 2014. I Stand Corrected is one part of a trilogy of plays that makes up the practice component of Mojisola’s PhD project addressing homophobia, alongside Asara and the Sea-Monstress and Sweet Taboo, devised and written with Talawa’s TYPT youth arts project in 2013. Mojisola adapted Sweet Taboo for screen and the short film directed by Campbell X is online.
Following a successful staged reading at the National Theatre in 2014, Mojisola is reviving her play, Muhammad Ali and Me at Albany Theatre in October 2016 and the production will tour nationally. Mojisola is an artist-in-residence for idle women in 2016 where she is writing her next play on a floating arts centre in Lancashire, down the Leeds – Liverpool Canal. Mojisola has been an Associate Artist for Pan Intercultural Arts since 1997 and her work with Pan has recently taken her to work with the Good Chance Theatre in the Calais refugee camp, aka ‘the jungle’.
Mojisola is now moving into film. Her recent creative and critical interests lie at the meeting point of queer / feminist visual practice, politics and permaculture. In these respects and more, her work continues to cross lines and traverse boundaries of discipline, sexuality, race and genre.
Selected academic chapters
- ‘The Supernatural Embodied Text: Devising with the Dead’ in Josephine Machon and Sue Broadhurst (eds) in Sensualities/Textualities and Technologies: Writings of the Body in 21st Century Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
- ‘Revolutionary Beauty out of Homophobic Hate: A reflection on I Stand Corrected’ in Gareth White (ed) Applied Theatre: Aesthetics (Bloomsbury Methuen, 2015).
- ‘Everything You Know About Queerness You Learnt from Blackness: The Afri-Quia Theatre of Black Dykes, Crips and Kids’ in Alyson Campbell and Stephen Farrier (eds) Queer Dramaturgies International Perspectives on Where Performance Leads Queer (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
- ‘Asara and the Sea-Monstress – A Play with Theory’ in Katja Hilevaraa and Emily Orley (eds) The Creative Critic: Writing As / About Practice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
Books and plays
- The Theatre for Development Handbook (2011) co-written with John Martin of Pan Intercultural Arts (for whom she is an Associate Artist) and Manisha Mehta, based on their work with VIDYA (order on The Pan Arts website. All proceeds go to the VIDYA charitable trust).
- 48 Minutes for Palestine in Anna Furse’s Theatre in Pieces: Politics, Poetics and Interdisciplinary collaboration: An Anthology of Play Texts 1968-2010 (Methuen, 2011).
- Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey in Deirdre Osborne’s Hidden Gems (Oberon Books, 2011).
- Mojisola Adebayo: Plays One (Oberon Books, 2011). Plays Two is forthcoming.
- She is currently composing Texts for Kameradin, to be published by the New Mojio Press, 2017.
Theatre of the Oppressed, theatre for social change and development, physical theatre, interdisciplinary collaboration, autobiographical performance, political theatre, solo performance, devising, community and engaged participatory processes and performance (‘applied’ theatre), accessible and integrated theatre (disability arts), writing, acting, voice, feminist, queer and Black theatre and performance of the African Diaspora.
‘No Straight Answers’: Writing in the Margins, Finding Lost Heroes
Adebayo, Mojisola; Mason-John, Valerie and Osborne, Deirdre. February 2009. ‘No Straight Answers’: Writing in the Margins, Finding Lost Heroes. New Theatre Quarterly, 25(1), pp. 6-21. ISSN 0266-464X