Monday, 25 June 2018

The Robben Island Shakespeare Reading at the Southbank Centre 11 August 2018, 7.30pm

As part of the Nelson Mandela: The Centenary Exhibition 2018 at the Southbank Centre in London, The Robben Island Shakespeare will be performed on 11 August at 7.30pm.  This reading and the wider event marks the 2018 centenary of iconic leader Nelson Mandela’s birth in this exhibition about his life, career, and commitment to equality and justice.

This exhibition explores the life and times of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013) and marks the centenary of his birth. It provides insight into Mandela’s journey from young freedom fighter to becoming the inspiration for an international movement against South Africa’s violent and oppressive apartheid system, and an emblem of an ongoing struggle to build a more just and equitable world.

For free tickets to this  event, please book here.


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

‘Ethical Leadership Workshops’ Paper to be delivered at the ‘Applying Shakespeare Symposium’ at The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford upon Avon



I have been invited to present at the upcoming Applying Shakespeare Symposium at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon.  My presentation will examine and details my work in 'Ethical Leadership' using the play, The Robben Island Shakespeare.
Through the words of William Shakespeare & former South African political prisoners, the aim of the workshop is to inspire the participants to create a pathway to ethical leadership.  The participants will analysis and speak selected Shakespearian texts and texts from the play, The Robben Island Shakespeare as well as create their own new pieces of writing on their views of ethical leadership. 

This will be the first opportunity that I have had to speak about these workshops having delivered several in South Africa and the United Kingdom over the past three years.

One of the key aspects of the workshop is to examine the ability of Shakespeare & the former political prisoners to educate and spark debate around the subject of ethical leadership.  The purpose of the workshop is to come to a group definition of the practices of ethical leadership, briefly share some of Shakespeare’s lessons on Leadership, and offer some applications for leadership development.

Workshop Outcomes:
  • The participants will explore how the theme of leadership is portrayed and explored in a selection of Shakespeare’s plays and in interviews with a selection of former political prisoners from Robben Island.
  • The participants will examine the current situation of their own behaviour around leadership and of those currently in leadership roles.
  • The participants will make positive changes in their own behaviour around leadership.
  • The participants will create pieces of new writing with a focus on young people’s perceptions of ethical leadership.



'Applying Shakespeare' symposium

The 'Applying Shakespeare' symposium is an opportunity for practitioners and scholars to come together to consider the uses of applied Shakespeare, sharing best practice and considering the impact of new and existing projects.
Shakespeare’s work continues to occupy a unique position within contemporary education, performance and popular culture.  Applied theatre is an umbrella term for a range of performance forms, often in non-theatrical spaces and with an agenda of personal or social change. When these two fields combine, the results can be transformative for those involved. 
Speakers include Dr Sue Jennings, Kelly Hunter, Ben Spiller and Phil Novis as well as papers on topics such as Robben Island Shakespeare, Shakespeare with autistic children and broadcast representations of applied Shakespeare.
There will be short performances from Open Access Arts and Blue Apple Theatre.
This event is organised in collaboration with Guildford School of Acting, University of Surrey, and the Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance, University of Kent.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Pictures from Play Launch at South African House 28 March 2017


Jack Klaff performing an extract from the play at the launch.


Playwright Matthew Hahn at the play launch


Members of SAYA who performed extracts from the play along with Sir Nick Stanlin, and Pumela Salela from Brand South Africa.


The High Commissioner of South Africa, HE Mr. Obed Malaba at the Launch.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Play to Launch in London: The Robben Island Shakespeare (Global South African Newsletter)

RobbenIslandShakespeareDid you know that during the Apartheid years in South Africa, a copy of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" was smuggled around the prison on Robben Island?

The book's significance resides in the fact that the book's owner, Sonny Venkatratham, passed it to a number of his fellow political prisoners in the single cells, including Nelson Mandela, asking them to mark their favourite passages with a signature and date. Informally known as "The Robben Island Bible", numerous prisoners selected the speeches that meant the most to them and their experience as political prisoners. 

In 2008 and 2010, playwright Matthew Hahnconducted interviews with eight former political prisoners in South Africa who were on Robben Island and signed Sonny’s ‘Bible’.

Offering a vivid and startling account of the experience of these political prisoners during Apartheid, his extraordinary verbatim play called "The Robben Island Shakespeare" weaves Shakespeare's words together with first-hand accounts from these men. They offer their reflections on their time as Liberation activists and, twenty years later, on the costs, consequences and whether or not it was all worth it.

For more information about the play and the accompanying Ethical Leadership Workshops, please visit The Robben Island Shakespeare website