Imagine Otherwise: Nicosia Shakes on Black Women’s Activist Theater

Oct 4, 2023Podcast

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In episode 156 of Imagine Otherwise, I interview scholar and artist Nicosia Shakes, whose creative and scholarly work celebrates the intertwining of political activism and performance across the African diaspora. 

You may be familiar with her play Afiba and Her Daughters, which offers an intergenerational narrative of Jamaican herstory.

Nicosia’s new book Women’s Activist Theatre in Jamaica and South Africa: Gender, Race, and Performance Space analyzes the work of four contemporary women-led theater groups and projects with a focus on how their activist productions take on gender injustice, racism, gang and state violence, and economic inequality.

In our conversation, Nicosia and I chat about her familial journey into community theater and why this kind of performance is such a powerful activist tool.

She also shares the complexities of doing a transnational feminist, multisited ethnography across two continents and why a methodology of co-performative witnessing is so crucial for engaged theater research.

Finally, we close out the episode with how Nicosia imagines otherwise for the future of Black and African diasporic artistic productions and the worlds they build on and off the stage.

You can listen to the episode on your favorite podcast player or the Ideas on Fire website here: Nicosia Shakes on Black Women’s Activist Theater

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