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STARS:
An Afrofuturist Space Odyssey
Institute of Contemporary Arts


A new Afrofuturist music play about pleasure, desire and female orgasms. 

STARS is a hilarious and moving mix of celebratory Black queer empowerment and arousal. 

Performed by one woman and a live DJ, with projected animations, we join in an old woman’s search for her lost orgasm, spanning across outer space, with dustings of African mythology and folklore in an unabashedly queer, feminist rallying call.

Tapping into our emotional and erotic desires, this powerful and honest play on Saturday 22 & 29 April transforms into an electrifying club night with guest DJs and characters from the show.

A Tamasha and ICA co-production, STARS is a sensitive and joyful show about desire, touch and reclaiming your pleasure. Featuring music by Sun Ra, Jamila Woods, Floating Points, and more.

A ‘concept album on stage’, the experimental and expansive STARS is written by internationally acclaimed theatremaker, artist and Alfred Fagon award-winner Mojisola Adebayo (Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey (Lyric Hammersmith), Muhammad Ali and Me (Ovalhouse), Oranges and Stones (Ashtar Theatre, Ramallah), Desert Boy (Albany Theatre), The Listeners (Pegasus Theatre), I Stand Corrected (Artscape, South Africa), The Interrogation of Sandra Bland (Bush Theatre), Wind / Rush Generation(s) (National Theatre) and Nothello (Coventry Belgrade)).

With direction by Gail Babb and S. Ama Wray, musical direction by Debo Adebayo, projected animation by Candice Purwin, design by Miriam Nabarro, creative captioning by Stephen Lloyd and lighting design by Nao Nagai. 





Cast
MRS and all other characters: Debra Michaels

Debra trained at Webber Douglas. Her theatre credits include: Sister Sandrine/Marie in The DaVinci Code, Vernice in Strange Fruit at The Bush; The Empress in Aladdin at Milton Keynes; Maria in Man of La Mancha; Mrs Alexander/Various in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at National Theatre/UK Tour; Manny/Myrtle in Red Snapper at Belgrade Theatre; Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at Lyric Hammersmith; Sadista in Sleeping Beauty at The Northcott Theatre; Mama Morton in CHICAGO. Debra has worked as a Musical Director on The Wiz at Riverside Studios and Singing Bridges for LWT, and as vocal coach on McDonalds Our Town Story at The Dome. She also co-created and choreographed The Wedding Dance which premiered at Bolton Octagon prior to a tour. Debra also teaches Salsa and Latin Dance.

DJ Michael Manners: Bradley Charles

Bradley Charles is a DJ, performer, and dancer. Recent credits include Sylvia (Old Vic), In the Willows (Metta Theatre), and Move It 2022 with FLAWLESS Dance Company. His stage credits also include roles at theatres including the National Theatre, Barbican, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Sadler’s Wells, Peacock Theatre, and Bristol Old Vic and with companies including Boy Blue Entertainment, Impact Dance, and ZooNation. He was Artistic Director of ZooNation Youth Company from 2019 – 2021 and is currently the company’s mentor and wellbeing officer. He was Dance Captain for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony ‘Thanks Tim’ and Associate Choreographer for Hex (National Theatre). Bradley is a DJ in the UK and internationally, including being resident DJ for Acting Up, Lovers and Friends and UDO Dance Competition, at events for Newham Council including The Mayor’s Showcase festival (Central Park) and Bike fest (Barking Park), and as part of The 3D Network.

Creative Team
An image of Mojisola Adebayo. Photo taken by Bettina Adela. Mojisola is a black woman wearing a bright red and yellow jumper, sitting against the architectural features of the ICA outside walls

Mojisola Adebayo (BA, MA, PhD, FRSL, FHEA) has been making theatre internationally for 30 years, from Antarctica to Zimbabwe. Mojisola’s own plays include Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey (Lyric Hammersmith), Muhammad Ali and Me (Ovalhouse), 48 Minutes for Palestine (Ashtar Theatre, Ramallah), Desert Boy (Albany Theatre), The Listeners (Pegasus Theatre), I Stand Corrected (Artscape, South Africa), The Interrogation of Sandra Bland (Bush Theatre), Wind / Rush Generation(s) (National Theatre) and Nothello (Coventry Belgrade). Publications include Mojisola Adebayo: Plays One and Plays Two (Oberon Books) and the co-written Theatre for Development Handbook (Pan Arts). Black British Queer Plays and Practitioners: An Anthology of Afriquia Theatre (Bloomsbury Methuen), co-edited with Lynette Goddard, is out in October 2022. Mojisola is a Lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, a mentor, Associate Artist of Black Lives Black Words, AICRE, Pan Arts and the Building the Anti-Racist Classroom collective and an Honorary Fellow of Rose Bruford College. She is currently on a fellowship at the University of Potsdam, Germany, commissioned by Counterpoint Arts and is a Writer-on-Attachment to the National Theatre (UK). Mojisola’s play Family Tree won the Alfred Fagon Award for Best Play of 2021. Following work-in-progress performances at Greenwich and Docklands International Festival with ATC and Young Vic, Family Tree premieres at Belgrade Coventry and Brixton House, March 2023, (ATC). STARS premieres at the ICA before a national tour. mojisolaadebayo.co.uk

Writer: Mojisola Adebayo
Directors: Gail Babb and S. Ama Wray
Designer: Miriam Nabarro
Lighting Designer: Nao Nagai
Animation Artist: Candice Purwin
Music Direction: Debo Adebayo
Creative Captions: Stephen Lloyd
Video Consultant: Gillian Tan
Costume Associate: Maariyah Sharjil
Production Therapist: Dawn Estefan

Production Team
Production Manager: James Dawson
Production Manager (cover): Josephine Tremelling
Company Stage Manager (on the book): Alison Pottinger
Photos (right) by Ali Wright.
 
Duration: 90 min. with no interval.

 
Tickets

From £15

Previews: Thu 13 – Sat 15 April
Shows: Tue 18 April – Thu 4 May
Saturday Matinees: 15, 22 & 29 April 
Show + Club Nights: Sat 22 & Sat 29 April


Programme

Thu, 23 March, 7pm  
Black British Queer Plays and Practitioners: An Anthology of Afriquia Theatre
Readings from playwright Mojisola Adebayo and featured authors to launch this collection celebrating LGBTIQ+ experiences from Black British perspectives.

Thursday 20 April, 9pm
Post-show – Meet the Artists
Hosts: Pooja Ghai (Tamasha’s Artistic Director)
Panel: Gail Babb and S. Ama Wray (Directors of STARS)

Saturday 22 & 29 April
STARS Afrofuturist Club Nights
A club that’s out of this world, featuring guest DJs and characters from the play.
Separate tickets for club nights only, not including theatre performance.

Tuesday 25 April
Post-show talk: Intersex, FGM and the Politics of Pleasure
Chaired by Professor Lennox Goddard, with Valentino Vecchietti (Intersex Equality Rights UK), Sema Gornall (CEO, Vavengers), Hoda Ali (Co-Founder, Vavengers) and Mary Otuko (FORWARD).


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Join today for £20/month.

MRS sits at a table under low light. Animated people in traditional dress dance in lights in the background, like constellations
MRS sits at the table with her hands held high, gesturing at the night sky
Creatives from the STARS team point to pinned images on a noticeboard
MRS stands with arms folded on the set, while an animated galaxy shifts in hyperspeed in the background
An older black-brown woman adjusts the back of a costume for MRS, an older black woman
An illustration by Candice Purwin of a woman's face made of constellations against a dark blue night sky
In rehearsals, the STARS director gestures and gives directions to DJ Michael Manners, who is in front of DJ decks and a mixer
MRS dances on the stage, lit by neon blue, with a portal-like doorway. An animated starry galaxy moves in the dark blue backdrop
DJ Michael Manners DJs in the background, with purple neon light stripes behind him. He is wearing headphones around his neck.