The Othello Project is a platform for some of the most exciting Muslim artists and writers in the UK today
ETT and Amal (a programme of the Saïd Foundation) collaborated on The Othello Project: a series of talks, workshops and artistic responses, curated with theatres and local artists across the country around the 2017 and 2018 UK tours of Othello.
The Othello Project gave a platform to some of the most exciting Muslim artists and writers working in the UK today, shining a light on the contemporary themes of the play. The Othello Project includes work from spoken word artist Tanya Muneera Williams, playwright Iman Qureshi, visual artist Mohammed Ali, a collaboration with Voices on their Young Muslim Voices film project, and many others.
To kick off the project in 2017, we hosted a number of pre- and post-show discussion events on ‘reimagining Othello’. We held a photography exhibition titled ‘The East End of Islam’ by Rehan Jamil, and commissioned a documentary by the excellent Nadir Nahdi which followed the rehearsals of the production of Othello and investigates the themes of the play.
We went into schools to run workshops and provided 200 free tickets for school children. We hosted a festival which included live music event Live Oud with performance by Kareem Samara, a performance by Poetic Pilgrimage, a performance of short plays by Firdos Ali, Hassan Abdul Razzak and Avaes Mohammedand. We also commissioned the first season of our Othello Project podcast – if you want to have a listen, scroll to the bottom of the page for a link!
In 2018, ETT and Amal (a programme of the Said Foundation) collaborated on The Othello Project – a series of talks, workshops and artistic responses, curated with tour venues and local artists alongside the 2018 UK tour of Othello. Visiting 8 different cities across the UK, activity included:
• The Othello Project commissioned Iman Qureshi to create a new piece of work in response to Othello, the play has been performed and discussed in 2 staged readings and will be recorded as a radio play for the 2nd season of The Othello Project Podcast series. Iman was interested in interrogating the misogyny and patriarchy that can be read in Othello and platforms on the voice of a woman in the discussions around faith, race and violence.
• The Oldham Coliseum worked with a local Muslim women’s group for a series of workshops with a facilitator, visual artist and Tanya Muneera Williams which culminated in a sensory exhibition exploring their response to the production and their experiences as British Muslims. The exhibition included artwork, a sound installation and poetry and was presented to the public between a matinee and evening performance.
• The Laurence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, in addition to their day of food, music and poetry invited local artists and school groups to respond creatively to the production. These were shared as scratch performances and included a live reading of Iman’s response play.
• CAST in Doncaster hosted a pre-show event for local BME cultural and political leaders including the leader of the Muslim Scouts, Majeed Khan – Mayor of Doncaster and Akeela Mohammed the Deputy Lieutenant of South Yorkshire. Tanya Muneera Williams performed as part of this event before the group saw the show.
• CAST also hosted a pre-show ‘Celebrating the Windrush Generation Past and Present’ event which included a panel discussion, music and a performance from Tanya Muneera Williams who also spoke about her experience as a Black British Muslim.
• The Othello Project commissioned renowned visual artist Mohammed Ali to create an artistic response to the production.
• Writer, performer, poet and facilitator, Tanya Muneera Williams delivered workshops across the tour in response to the production. The workshops were with schools, community groups, refugees and local artists and performance poet Rakaya Fetuga joined Tanya for some of these.
• Collaborating with Northern Stage, we commissioned local young artist Humira Imtiaz for the development of a new piece of work.
The Othello Project Podcast was produced by executive producer, educator, journalist and artist Abdul-Rehman Malik and multi-award winning freelance radio producer Thomas Glasser. Hosted by journalist, broadcaster and commentator Remona Aly, the episodes featured important Muslim voices from Majeed Khan to Mohamed A Mohamed.
The Othello Project - Lawrence Batley Theatre. Photo by Nathan Towers Islam