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Project information

Zhe -- a new play

To develop a new play about alternative gender identities and homosexuality told from an African perspective. Drawing on the experiences of British Africans dealing with homosexuality and trans-gender conflicts, the play will incorporate dance, music and drama.

August 2011 - April 2012

Charity information: Collective Artistes

Collective Artistes logo
  • Need


    Discrimination and bullying against trans-gender people, particularly amongst the African Diasporic communities. 73% of transgender people have experienced harassment in public, triple the percentage of lesbians and gay men. Homosexuals and trans-people from BME backgrounds are twice as likely to suffer homophobic and transphobic hate crime than white people. Lack of dialogue about trans-issues in the Black community results in disempowerment and often abuse of trans-people.


    By telling the stories of British Africans struggling with trans-gender and sexuality issues, the play aims to raise awareness and promote tolerance for trans- people, particularly amongst the African Diasporic community. The play will encourage audiences to celebrate the humanity of all regardless of gender identity. Educational workshops in the community, particularly targeting young people, will challenge attitudes that can lead to bullying and harassment.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To develop the script of a new play about gender identity from an African-British perspective


    » Script play from interviews, research, improvisations and devising rehearsals with actors
    » Consult with transgender advocacy groups in the UK and Africa (like Gendered Intelligence) to help develop script
    » Lead a workshop with transgender young people and community members to gain wider perspective on the themes.
    » Develop script internationally through rehearsal periods in America, Zimbabwe and the UK in order to deepen the relevance across the African Diaspora.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...A high quality script is produced that incorporates and explores the experiences of British trans-people of African Descent.

    Aim 2

    To hold a public workshop production of the play and receive feedback for further development


    » Produce and promote a public workshop performance in Islington, particularly targeting members of BME communities in London
    » Hold post-show discussions with audiences to receive feedback on the play

    What success will look like

    Success will be...200 audience members attend the workshop production and provide positive and constructive feedback that will help develop the play

    Aim 3

    To increase tolerance for transgendered people, particularly in Black British communities.


    » Lead 2 workshops with young people educating about themes of the play and ways to be more tolerant of difference
    » Involve a local schools and a youth group as audiences and as participants in the workshops

    What success will look like

    Success will be...40 young people see the performance and take part in the workshop

    Aim 4

    To produce a play that can be further developed into a mainstage theatrical production


    » Promote workshop production to venues, partners and funders interested in supporting its future development
    » Video rehearsals, performance and feedback to document activity for future development

    What success will look like

    Success will be...Venues and partners show an interest in taking the play forward to full production

  • Impact


    The play will challenge audiences' negative attitudes towards homosexuality and trans-gender and increase understanding of these issues, particularly in the Black British community. The resulting script will be able to be used for artistic and educational purposes in the future. The success of the project will be demonstrated through video recording of the performance, audience feedback and the workshops. Workshop participant and teachers will fill in feedback forms.


    The length of time needed to effectively develop the script and changes in actors schedules could stretch beyond the time period currently envisaged. We are putting in place an aggressive fundraising strategy to cover contingencies for the extra time needed.


    Donors will be invited to the workshop production and can be provided with a copy of the final script on request. Videos of the production and feedback will be available on our website.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £18,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,200 Creative Team Director & 2 actors for 3 weeks of rehearsal and script writing/development
      £1,500 Producer Producing of workshop rehearsal and performance
      £1,000 Dramaturg Supporting director in script development
      £4,000 Flights 2 International flights for director and actors
      £1,800 Space Hire Rehearsal and performance space
      £1,250 Production Costs Props, costumes and film documentation & editing for performance
      £2,000 Administration Marketing costs, administration costs and overheads
      £1,250 Contingency Contingency for unforseen costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Morel Trust £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project will rehearse across three continents in order to incorporate an international perspective of the issues: London (UK), Virginia (US) and Harare (Zimbabwe). Collective Artistes has strong partnerships with theatre companies, universities and community groups in all three places. The play will perform in Islington, London and will target BME audiences in the London area.


    We expect all audiences, regardless of ethnicity or gender identity, to benefit from this project, to gain an increased awareness of trans-gender issues and to develop greater tolerance for people with alternative gender identities. We hope that play will inspire transgender people and empower them to be open about their true selves.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Collective Artistes is a London-based African theatre company committed to producing socially-relevant professional and community theatre that tells the stories of the African Diaspora. We create vibrant and inclusive theatrical experiences that promote community development an social change. We have a history of using theatre as a tool to tackle difficult issues, often dealing with gender-based issues such as Female Genital Mutilation, reproductive rights and women in war.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Chuck Mike

    With over 30 years experience developing plays tackling community issues, “visionary” director Chuck Mike provides key artistic expertise.

    Antonia Kemi-Coker

    British-Nigerian actress Antonia Kemi-Coker will draw on her personal experiences of homosexuality and androgyny to help develop and perform the play.

    Tonderai Munyevu

    British-Zimbabwean actor Tonderai Munyevu will use his own trans-identity to develop and perform in the play.

    Gendered Intelligence

    Gendered Intelligence delivers arts programmes to trans youth. They will consult on trans-issues and help construct the project’s education activities