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THE MEANING OF ZONG to be Screened at Bristol Old Vic as Part of Black South West Network's Cultural and Heritage Program

THE MEANING OF ZONG to be Screened at Bristol Old Vic as Part of Black South West Network's Cultural and Heritage Program

A panel discussion will also take place live on stage at this event.

Bristol Old Vic is partnering with Black South West Network to host a free screening of The Meaning of Zong and Panel discussion, as the first event in their series on cultural heritage.

BSWN commissioned this archive filming of The Meaning of Zong which forms part of the permanent collection of the (Un)Museum of Black Culture and Heritage- an online space to which community-based archivists and cultural producers can 'upload' content and curate 'collections' through Black and Minoritized lenses.

Based on true historical events, Giles Terera's powerful play was commissioned by Bristol Old Vic and The National Theatre. It gave Bristol Old Vic its first main stage representation of the rebellion against the injustice of enslavement.

Two hundred years ago, Olaudah Equiano read the harrowing reports of a massacre aboard the slave ship Zong, where 132 Africans were thrown overboard. Joining forces with anti-slavery campaigner Granville Sharpe to publicly condemn these actions, he helped set in motion events which led to the abolition movement in the UK.

A panel discussion will also take place live on stage at this event, including those who battle in real courtrooms today - in high-profile cases- at the forefront of the fight for rights and justice in Britain. In this piece of reality theatre, they discuss what we can learn from history and culture that can make a real difference in that fight.

Speaking today, Angelique Retief (Senior Policy Officer, Black South West Network) said:
"Over 200 years ago, Olaudah Equiano changed the world, but this play marks an important place in the present and society's grapple with the continued impacts of its unequal history. The screening of the Giles Terera's play opens our autumn programme to draw parallels between those who battle in courtrooms today at the forefront of the fight for rights and justice in Britain. Serving as an inspiration for how individual and collective action can drive unimaginable change, this piece of reality-theatre discusses what we can learn from history and culture to make a real difference in that fight. These events are not just about adding to the cultural calendar of Bristol but about a space for intellectual reflection to promote cultural diversity, social cohesion, reparative justice, peace, and economic development."

More about BSWN Cultural Heritage Programme and UnMuseum


As a racial justice organization, BSWN work covers many areas and connected with a variety of sectors. Ove the past few years, they have engaged in a number of community-based research projects, the latest being an examination of the situation of decolonization within the culture heritage sector in the South West.

The overarching aim for the Cultural Heritage Programme is to impact upon a range of racial justice measures through culture and heritage work. In this programme, they have begun to develop a series of community archiving workshops, create content, and develop the digital (Un)Museum prototype - an online space to which community-based archivists and cultural producers can "upload" content and curate "collections" through Black and Minoritized lenses.



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