A new music-theatre piece will bring to life the Ethiopian legend of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
To coincide with Black History Month, King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba will be performed at Theatre Peckham on October 26 with an ensemble of classical singers from diverse heritages, and a youth chorus from Theatre Peckham, in a semi-staged presentation.
There will also be a Q&A session after the show.
The performance is influenced by African musical genres and opera from the continent and its diaspora.
The play focuses on the legend of the first Emperor of the Solomonic Dynasty and told by two female Rastafari devotees, travelling to the Shashamane commune in Ethiopia that the last reigning Emperor, Haile Selassie, donated to the Rastafari faith.
These devotees discuss the marginalisation of women in Rastafari ceremonies, known as Groundings.
Eventually they draw inspiration from the assertive and adventurous spirit that motivated the Queen of Sheba to travel to Jerusalem to visit Solomon.
The show’s creator, opera singer and composer Juwon Ogungbe, said that without the Queen of Sheba, the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopian emperors would never have existed.
Mr Ogungbe said: “On a visit to Ethiopia several years ago, I visited their National Gallery.
“I became really inspired by the exhibit of the Queen of Sheba’s compound.
“After hearing her story, the seduction by King Solomon and the birth of their son, I wanted to retell this legend that has so much importance and symbolic value in African history.
“I’m really excited to develop this piece with some brilliant and diverse creatives and share the story with Peckham and beyond.”
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