Sheba Soul Ensemble came into being in 2017. Our initial impetus was to tune into stories of incredible Afrikan greatness and devise theatre performances which honoured the achievements of Afrikan people. And so we put a call out… and eight people answered… and we started rehearsing, decided on a devised piece which would tell the story of Makeda, Queen of Sheba.A piece that would honour Afrikan theatre, would combine strong roles for the narrator, fusing music, dance, song, poetry and interweaving shreds of improvisaton into the whole. So it made perfect sense... to call ourselves after Makeda - a woman who achieved incredible things.
So Sheba Soul Ensemble was born.
Over the past five years, things have changed.
We work in film as much as theatre.
We promote the work of BLACK* and indigenous women film makers. Our theatre pieces draw systematically on Afrikan theatre techniques to relate thought-provoking stories which place the audience at the centre of all we do.
We have performed across the UK, in US, with a Caribbean tour in the offing.
Our greatest achievements to date ?
1. FLY! Festival of BLACK* Women’s Theatre – June 2019 – a 10 day extravaganza of theatre at Arnolfini and Bristol Old Vic, featuring artists and companies from all over the UK, Washington, Martinique. The first ever BLACK* women’s theatre festival.
2. Our US tour in February 2020 – performing live at the Smithsonian and Howard University.
3. FLY! Festival of BLACK* Women’s Film – our online film festivals featuring BLACK* film-makers from UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Tunisia, Kenya, Zambia, Cameroon. Morocco. 18 great online festyivals with amazing ‘add-on’ activities, (director’s interventions, beading, dance, photography, debates), including our fabulous A Season of Women anthology. This collection pulls together poems penned following our FLY! Hopefully series of events in March – June 2021.
We are excited that COVID restrictions are retreating and are longing to perform live and deliver festival live. But we remain committed to embracing a wider audience through our online offers such as Are you sure that we are awak.e? - featuring part of the Sheba crew in Uganda and Zambia and draweing intriguing parallels between COVID and the spread of colonialism. And our online FLY! Festival of BLACK* Women’s Film there is an immense body of work to be excavated, disseminated, celebrated.