Home » nora chipaumire: Nehanda, The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT, USA

nora chipaumire: Nehanda, The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT, USA

by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta
nora chipaumire: Nehanda - The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT - photo by Brad Schaffer
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The Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut delivered another exceptional, sensational, and unique cultural experience with nora chipaumire’s opera, Nehanda, "protest, legal gathering, world making." Performed in its entirety, the opera lasted just shy of 5 hours with the audience seated on stage for a most incredible and fantastic evening of exploration and learning. Bravo!


Ever since 2010 when we first "discovered’ The Quick, each time we experience a performance there we continue to be amazed at the depth and breadth of what they offer patrons with their diverse cultural offerings, which are truly spectacular. Whether pushing the envelope with contemporary performances, with stimulating lectures about current topics, with opera, diverse dance programs, or a wide variety of music concerts, they never fail to deliver memorable evenings that expand the mind and excite the senses and the imagination.

nora chipaumire: Nehanda - The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT - photo by Brad Schaffer

On Friday, September 23, 2022, we had the pleasure of experiencing nora chipaumire’s opera, Nehanda. Although the opera tours extensively in Europe, it is usually performed as a few of the "chapters" presented over consecutive nights and it is rarely performed in its entirety of all three "chapters." However, we have come to expect the unexpected at The Quick, so when we had the opportunity to experience the opera being performed for one night only in its entirety, of course we wanted to experience it. The performance lasted just shy of 5-hours, running without an intermission, with the audience seated on wooden stools, benches, and on plastic milk crates on stage with the action taking place all around us, engaging the audience for an immersive sensorial experience quite unlike anything we had ever seen. Throughout the performance, the cast physically moved the audience about the stage providing different vantage points at which to sit and experience the story.

nora chipaumire: Nehanda - The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT - photo by Brad Schaffer

The opera consists of three chapters: Chapter 1: (Natives/Empire), Chapter 2: (Pungwe/Comrade Judas ne ma jekenishi), and Chapter 3: (Manifesting Thinking), with Artistic Direction by nora chipaumire, and Shona spiritual: dramaturgy by Gwinyai Rutsito.

nora chipaumire: Nehanda - The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT - photo by Brad Schaffer

nora chipaumire was born in 1965 in Rhodesia, (now Zimbabwe), and is a multi-award winner who has clearly made her mark in the world of art and dance with her bold and inspirational stories. Now based in Brooklyn, New York, for Nehanda, she takes her art to another stratosphere, with its vibrant and evocative storytelling through music and dance. The opera begins in 1898 and is described as a "juridical" opera which explores the "confusing and conflicting world of Shona spirituality, politics, power, and methodologies of anti-colonial resistance." It is an opera that is powerful and dazzling to behold, deftly told by an engaging and impressive storyteller, nora chipaumire. Well received by the appreciative audience, the cast received a standing ovation concluding a cultural evening that will not soon be forgotten.

nora chipaumire: Nehanda - The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT - photo by Brad Schaffer

There was a champagne reception following the performance where the audience had the opportunity to speak with the cast and engage in meaningful conversations about the opera. After seeing nora chipaumire’s opera, Nehanda, we look forward to seeing more works from this creative contemporary genius.

nora chipaumire: Nehanda - The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT - photo by Brad Schaffer

For information on nora chipaumire and touring information, please visit the website: www.companychipaumire.com.

Background Information on Nehanda

"Conceived as an African opera, choreographer nora chipaumire’s newest performance investigates the legend of Nehanda, a powerful Zimbabwean spirit venerated by the Shona people who inhabits only women. In 1896-97, Nehanda’s medium was a heroic revolutionary leader who orchestrated the first uprisings in British-occupied Southern Rhodesia. Together with four comrades, she was captured and, after getting an expedited and unjust trial, executed by the British colonizers, who were so scared that they ordered her bones and the skull to be sent to the UK."

nora chipaumire: Nehanda - The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT - photo by Brad Schaffer

"Nehanda offers a legal and philosophical defense for these first historic heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, with a libretto based on the infamous court case "The Queen [Victoria] vs. Nehanda" (1898). The operatic, movement-based theater performance is an immersive, participatory, and durational spectacle where participants can collectively perform and investigate the process of law-making and its crucial role in the European colonial project.

nora chipaumire: Nehanda - The Quick Center, Fairfield, CT - photo by Brad Schaffer

"nora chipaumire was born in Zimbabwe and is based in NYC, where her company has been challenging and embracing stereotypes of Africa and the Black performing body, art, and aesthetic. She is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law and holds an MA in dance and MFA in choreography & performance from Mills College. She has studied dance in Africa, Cuba, Jamaica, and the U.S. and has performed her multiple award-winning works worldwide."

The Cast

Nora chipaumire
McIntosh "Soko" Jerahuni
Fatima Katiji
Tatenda Chabarwa
Shamar Wayne Watt
Gilbert Zvamaida
Sylvestre Akakpo Adzaku
David Gagliardi
Jonathan Daniel
Kei Soares-Cobb
Mamoudou Konate
Peter Van Heerden
Lucia Palmieri


Technical Crew

Vusumuzi Moyo
Sound Engineer
Heidi Echwall
Technical & Production Manager
Sylvestre Akakpo Adzaki
Production Assistant
Alexandre Lemieux
Executive Manager
ArKtype/Thomas O. Kriegsman
Tour Producer

Until next time, keep enjoying and supporting the arts!


A Sampling of the Exciting 2022 – 2023 Upcoming Performances
Mariachi Herencia de Mexico with Lupita Infante
September 30, 2022
Sandra Gibson & Luis Recoder: Obscurus Projectum: The Lost Cinematic Art of the Camera Obscure
October 17, 2022
Tiny Beautiful Things
October 19-22, 2022
Helen Oyeyumi: Peaces
October 27, 2022
The Met Opera: HD Live: Medea (Cherubin)
October 29, 2022
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
November 4, 2022
The Met Opera: HD Live: La Traviata (Verdi)
November 5, 2022
Sugar Skull! A Día de Muertos Musical Adventure
November 10, 2022
Orin Grossman, PhD: Musical Borderlands
November 13, 2022
National Theatre Live: The Seagull
November 15, 2022
Theatre Fairfield: Director’s Cut
December 1, 3, 4, 2022
The Met Opera: HD Live: The Hours (Puts)
December 14, 2022
The Met Opera: HD Live: Fedora (Giordano)
January 14, 2023
Vertigo Dance: Pardes
January 18, 2023
Theatre Fairfield: Independent Play Project
January 27-29, 2023
Steven Rivellino: Berlin Cabernet 1920s-1940s
February 15, 2023
National Theatre Live: The Crucible
March 7, 2023
The Kingdom Choir
March 10, 2023
Global Theatre: Gospel, Rap, and Social Justice
March 21, 2022
The Met Opera: HD Live: Lohengrin (Wagner)
March 26, 2023
The Met Opera: HD Live: Falstaff (Verdi)
April 2, 2023
National Theatre Live: Othello
May 4, 2023
The Met Opera: HD Live: Der Rosenkavalier (Strauss)
May 6, 2023
The Met Opera: HD Live: Don Giovanni (Mozart)
May 23, 2023
The Met Opera: HD Live: Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)
June 6, 2023

The Quick Center for the Arts always has something wonderful happening with lectures, art receptions, opera, concerts, dance, plays, and so much more, so be sure to visit their website for upcoming events: https://quickcenter.fairfield.edu

To see their 2022-2023 Season Program, please visit: https://quickcenter.fairfield.edu/season-brochure/index.html


Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield, CT, USA

Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, Connecticut 06824-5195
United States
Box Office: 203-254-400
Toll-Free: 1-877-ARTS-396
Email: quickboxoffice@fairfield.edu
Website: https://quickcenter.fairfield.edu
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/FairfieldQuick
Instagram: www.Instagram.com/fairfieldquick/

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