Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone

By on September 15, 2017
Urban Joren och Jack Robinson

Josette Bushell-Mingo’s successful performance about the iconic artist Nina Simone, directed by Dritëro Kasapi, criticized in both Britain and Sweden, comes to Kulturhuset Stadsteatern for a longer guest play. The performance is produced by the Riksteatern and Unity Theater in Liverpool. Premiere December 20, Small stage, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

– When I started the artistic process before the performance, I thought it would be about my relationship with Nina, but it is so much more than that. It’s about our relationship to each other, based on a “blackness” perspective, says Josette Bushell-Mingo.

– This performance means incredibly much to me. I’m so proud of the work that Josette and I have done. Nina Simone is iconic, both musically and politically. Josette puts her heart in this performance, just like Nina did night after night on stage, says Dritëro Kasapi, director and since 2015 deputy performing arts and theater director at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

In Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone, Josette Bushell-Mingo reflects her own life and artistry through Nina Simone’s destiny of life and music. The performance becomes a double exposure of boths life that vibrate through decades. Text, music and song are interwoven into a portrayal of two women’s hopes, dreams, sorrows and successes. On stage there are three musicians.

Today, Nina Simone’s music is loved by a broad public and Nina Simone is an iconic consolation for many. But while she lived, her popularity quickly dropped when she took a political stand for the civil rights movement and Black Power in the 60’s.

How did the artist Nina make her decisions, what did they cost, how did she dare? What has changed since then? We are moving from 1964 – when the hope was strong and the US civil rights movement was at its peak – to a present day, where black’s exclusion is a scary reality, even in Sweden. What did Josette inherit from Nina, and how can she use it today?

The first performance was held at Unity Theater in Liverpool in 2016, and since then, the performance has been toured in Sweden with the National Theater in 2017 and in July it had the premiere of Young Vic in London for sold out houses. The production had its Scottish premiere at the Traverse Theater as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


“Here is the revolt as a vibrating raster between the suggestive tones of music and the political content of the lyrics: the rage, powerlessness. The set succeeds in a magic way lap the entertainment with activism as it was a spicy molotov cocktail […] this is acute theater about literally be a voice for those who do not have one. And what voice then.” SVD

“A thrilling, sometimes spine-tingling experience… catch it while you can.” BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE

”It asks questions about how you can use your voice to start a revolution, whether forgiveness is always a good thing, what level of threat constitutes self-defence and if violence is ever the right course of action. “How did we come to a time when we have to say Black Lives Matter?” THE GUARDIAN

Helena Olofsson, Culture & Music | Stockholm