September 12 | 8:00 pm
September 13 | 8:00 pm
Teatro Argentina
opera performance
European premiere
in Shona, English, Ndebele, Ewe, Afrikaans, Kriolu, Italian and other languages

€16 / €10 concession (+ €2 presale fee)

nora chipaumire


Click here to purchase tickets for NEHANDA by nora chipaumire on Sunday 12 September at 8:00 pm
Click here to purchase tickets for NEHANDA by nora chipaumire on Monday 13 September at 8:00 pm


The powerful Zimbabwean, US-based nora chipaumire will present at Short Theatre the European premiere of her latest creation: Nehanda, a modular performative project. Conceived as an opera, the eighth chapter will be staged at Teatro Argentina. chipaumire‘s artistic practise – poised between art and activism – investigates the nature of the performing black body through a transfeminist approach; it forces attitudes with a counter-hegemonic method, it criticizes the forms of neo-colonial power using in-presence relationships as a tool to question racial and gender stereotypes with respect to non-white and non-Eurocentric cultural imageries.

chipaumire continues to explore the imagery of her country, focusing on myths and revisiting registers and literary styles of the Western operatic repertoire. Conceived as a musical theatre opera, NEHANDA investigates the legend of a powerful spirit venerated by the Shona people, native of Zimbabwe and central Mozambique. The spirit Nehanda inhabits only women. At the end of the XIX century, Nehanda’s medium was Charwe Nyakasikana, a heroic revolutionary leader who coordinated the first insurrections in British-occupied South Rhodesia in 1896-97. She was captured with four comrades and, after a summary trial, the colonizers executed her and sent her skull and bones to the United Kingdom.

The libretto is based on the well-known court case The Queen vs. Nehanda (1898) between two sovereigns Nehanda – mhondoro – “lion spirit” and Queen Victoria, whose long and glorified reign witnessed the rise and expansion of the British Empire in the world.

In this immersive performance participants can collectively investigate the law-making process and its crucial role in the European colonial project.

NEHANDA is co-realized by Teatro di Roma – Teatro Nazionale, within the Grandi Pianure programme with the support of the Embassy of the United States of America in Rome.



performer nora chipaumire, McIntosh “Soko” Jerahuni, Othnell “Mangoma” Moyo, Fatima Katiji, Tom Jules Samie, Gilbert Zvamaida, Kei Soares-Cobb, Peter van Heerden, Lucia Palmieri, Sylvestre Akakpo Adzaku
sound engineer Vusumuzi Moyo
stage manager Sylvestre Akakpo Adzaku
techinical & production manager Roderick Murray
booking Tommy Kriegsmann (ArKtype)
company manager Leonie Wichmann
NEHANDA has been commissioned by Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council as part of the Extended Life Dance Development program. It is being made possible through generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Artists “Bubble” Residency program, the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, received friendly support from NYSCA and NEA and was developed through residencies at PACT Zollverein, Essen and CSC, Bassano del Grappa
NEHANDA is presented in co-realisation with the support of Teatro di Roma – Teatro Nazionale,  within Grandi Pianure
with the support of the Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti di America di Roma
© Mieke Ulfig