Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Panelists Announced For Giles Terera's THE MEANING OF ZONG Open Conversation


The panel includes Samuel West, Akiya Henry, Moronkẹ Akinola, Gloria Obianyo and Michael Balogun.

Panelists Announced For Giles Terera's THE MEANING OF ZONG Open Conversation

This Wednesday 31 Mar, Bristol Old Vic will host a free Open Conversation around Giles Terera's debut play The Meaning Of Zong, looking at the issues raised by the play and its resonance today.

Panelists announced today include playwright and performer Giles Terera and cast members Samuel West, Akiya Henry, Moronka?? Akinola, Gloria Obianyo and Michael Balogun. Joining them are The Meaning of Zong director Tom Morris, radio producer Jonquil Panting and historian, writer and activist Marcus Rediker, currently Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History, University of Pittsburgh.

The panel will be chaired by BBC Head of Religion and Ethics, Tim Pemberton. Tim has spent 30 years working in radio, television and online production both here and abroad including two years as the Executive Editor of BBC Africa for the World Service. Between 2006 - 2014 he was the Managing Editor of BBC Radio Bristol.

Developed through workshops at The National Theatre Studio and a rehearsed reading at Bristol Old Vic in 2018, Terera's visionary play tells the story of the discovery of the massacre of 132 enslaved Africans aboard the slave ship Zong in 1781, and the impact it had on the pioneering Abolitionist, Olaudah Equiano.

The Meaning of Zong is available now to listen to on BBC Sounds. Full details of the play and the conversation can be found here:

Speaking today Tim Pemberton said: "The Meaning of Zong skilfully blends history and contemporary issues whilst making us think about how to address our relationship with justice and history. I have lots of questions for Giles Terera and the team, I'm sure those who have heard the play will too."

Giles Terera said: "I wanted to tell this story because it explains how we all arrived at the Britain we are living in today. It explains why people feel the need to pull statues down. We can better understand where we are by acknowledging how we got here. And we can understand where we're going by understanding where we've been...It is a difficult subject but the best stories, though they can be the hardest to face are often the most rewarding."

Director Tom Morris added: "Everyone in eighteenth-century Britain knew slavery was wrong, but the British economy was built on it, so they shoved their morals under the carpet and allowed the trade to continue. We need to understand that British society in the eighteenth century was hypocritical, just as our society is today. And we need to learn from Olaudah Equiano about the courage that is needed to make profound change in our society, so that we can build the more equitable world which he and other abolitionists dreamt of and which, in all honesty, we are yet to achieve."

To get inside the Zoom discussion, sign-up is required. After you sign up, you will receive an email including a link to the event Zoom call. If you would like to watch the discussion on the big screen, we'll be broadcasting it to YouTube. Make sure to subscribe on YouTube so you don't miss it on there.

Related Articles View More UK Regional Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You