Menu

Close

HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True
HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True

HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True

  • Jan 26, 2018 - Feb 11, 2018

  • Loeb Drama Center

  • Run Time: 100 minutes with no intermission.

Tickets

Tickets from $25. A limited number of standing room tickets may be sold in person for select sold-out performances beginning at 12 noon the day of the show. There is no guarantee that standing room tickets will be available.

Learn more:

This event has passed

Directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa

Featuring a cast of leading Nigerian actresses (Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, Ufuoma McDermott, Elvina Ibru, Omonor, Zara Udofia-Ejoh, Rita Edward, Debbie Ohiri, and Odenike, as well as drummers Emeka Christian Anokwuru, Frank Ebisidor Asiyai, and Blessing Akpofure Idireri), HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True is inspired by multi-generational stories of inequality and transformation. Staged by director and writer Ifeoma Fafunwa, the show grapples with the issues affecting the lives of women across Nigeria, and the factors that limit their potential for independence, leadership, and meaningful contribution in society. Combining song and dance with intimate portraits of resilience and resistance, the show celebrates the women who have broken the culture of silence, challenged the status quo, and moved beyond barriers to achieve solutions. The critically-acclaimed production of HEAR WORD! returns to the A.R.T. after its US premiere in a limited run last season.

Need to know

This production contains graphic descriptions of sexual abuse and violence that some audience members may find distressing.

The A.R.T. salutes individuals of all gender identities who have the courage to speak out and break barriers of silence and fear. If you are looking for support surrounding experiences of sexual assault, harassment, or domestic violence, these local organizations are a great place to seek resources and community.

Read more

See a full schedule of Act II conversations that will follow a number of performances.

Visit our Toolkit Library to access the HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True Toolkit for information, articles, and activities about the show.

Check these local and international organizations if you were inspired to learn more about and/or become involved in addressing the issues raised by the play.

Read a New York Times article about the origins of Pidgin English, a language sometimes used in this performance.

Come Close and Listen
Director Ifeoma Fafunwa reflects on her inspiration for, and the creative process of, the show.

When HEAR WORD! Came to Harvard—Finally
by Biodun Jeyifo

Read the program for this production.

Read more in the A.R.T. Guide about HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True and other upcoming productions.

Notable dates

Audio Described Dates

Feb. 9 at 7:30PM – Feb. 11 at 2PM

Open Captioned

Feb. 8 at 7:30PM – Feb. 11 at 2PM

Purchase your tickets for our OC or AD performances via phone at 617.547.8300, in person, or by email at ticketservices@amrep.org.

Age Appropriateness

Recommended for grades 9+

Discussions

Act II conversations will follow a number of performances. For a full schedule of discussions, please visit this page.

Photos & Videos

Press

Credits

Creative team

Director

Ifeoma Fafunwa

ifeoma-fafunwa_photo-by-tony-rinaldo_373px.jpg

Director

Ifeoma Fafunwa

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Ifeoma Fafunwa is the founder and creative director of iOpenEye, a Nigerian production company driving social change through performance art. She has over twenty years of creative collaborative experience on projects in theatre, architecture, film, and fine art in the US and Nigeria. Her directing work includes The Vagina Monologues and plays by contemporary Nigerian writers. Her work has been showcased at the British Council’s Lagos Theatre Festival and the Tate Modern. Ifeoma wrote the one- woman show Eggs and Fleas, which was nominated by the Los Angeles Weekly for Best Solo Performance Work. In 2012, she directed one of Nigeria’s cultural submissions for the London Olympics, and in 2014 she participated in the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT). Ifeoma is currently the Mary I. Bunting Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute, where she is developing a performance art project titled Who Would Choose to Be Gay and Nigerian!?

View full biography

Costume Design

Ituen Basi

Costume Design

Ituen Basi

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!. Theater: Fela and the Kalakuta Queens; SARO the Musical; for colored girls; Kakadu the Musical. Fashion Design (with her multi-award-winning label Ituen Basi): features in Vogue Italia, British Vogue, Elle (South Africa), Marie Claire (South Africa), Cosmopolitan (South Africa), Ebony (USA), Pride (UK); runway shows in Dakar, Milan, Paris, London, Vienna, Cape Town, Johannesburg (Mercedes Benz Designer of the Year, 2012); trade shows in Florence, Milan (Pitti SUPER Talents, with Vogue Italia). Presentations/Panels: Harvard African Business Club; Stanford Business Forum; Fashion Africa Conference, London. Training/Education: Theatre Arts, University of Ife; Tailoring and Clothing Technology, London College of Fashion. 

View full biography

Lighting Design

Aja M. Jackson

Lighting Design

Aja M. Jackson

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!. New York: Nourishment, Planta Baja. Regional: The Last Wife, WAM Theatre Company; The Cradle Will Rock, Boston University College of Fine Arts; Memorial, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; Wit, Boston Center for American Performance; Later the Same Evening, Boston University Fringe Fest. Opera: Le nozze di Figaro, Boston University College of Fine Arts Opera Institute and School of Theatre. Dance: Biomorphic Dance Fest, Tathagatha, Asterial Dance, What the Wind Taught Me, Hudson Guild Theatre. Education/Training: M.F.A., Lighting Design, Boston University. 

View full biography

Sound Design

Drew Levy

Sound Design

Drew Levy

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!. Broadway: Honeymoon in Vegas (Drama Desk nomination), Chaplin (Drama Desk Award), The Winslow Boy, The Importance of Being Earnest, Present Laughter. Off-Broadway: One Day the Musical, The Weir, Why Torture is Wrong..., Emergence-See!, Dutchman, The Mistakes Madeline Made. Regional: Bard SummerScape, Williamstown, 5th Avenue Theatre, Old Globe, Two River Theatre, Arena Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Long Wharf. Other: Reconfiguration: An Evening with Other Lives, Drama Desk Awards Ceremony 2014 and 2015, Metropolitan Opera 125th Anniversary Gala.

View full biography

Projection Design

Johnathan Carr

Projection Design

Johnathan Carr

A.R.T.: Projections Design: HEAR WORD!; HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center; Pulitzer Prize 100: Centennial. Additional Media: Pippin, The Lily’s Revenge. OBERON: Searching for Signal, ToUch Performance Art. Off-Broadway: H4, Resonance Ensemble; Same River, Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble. Regional: Hold These Truths, By The Way Meet Vera Stark, Into the Woods, Red Hot Patriot, City of Angels, Lyric Stage Company; An Octoroon, Company One. Educational Productions: Proclamation 4 and 5, A.R.T. Education & Community Programs; Working, Terra Nova, Wellesley College; The Man Who, Harvard College Theater, Dance & Media; Our Town (upcoming), A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training. Johnathan teaches in Harvard College’s Theater, Dance & Media concentration.

View full biography

Production Stage Manager

Taylor Brennan

Production Stage Manager

Taylor Brennan

A.R.T.: Stage Manager: HEAR WORD!Burn All Night; Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education1984; O.P.C.The Shape She MakesThe Donkey Show. Assistant Stage Manager: Bedlam's Sense & SensibilityThe Night of the IguanaFingersmithRoosevElvisKansas City Choir BoyNatasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812The Heart of Robin HoodAll the WayThe Glass MenagerieThe Lily’s RevengeOnce. Production Associate: Prometheus BoundThe Blue FlowerCabaret. Education/Training: Graduate of Boston University (Summa cum laude) College of Fine Arts.

View full biography

Cast

Taiwo Ajai-Lycett web.jpg
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett web.jpg

Ensemble

Taiwo Ajai-Lycett

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: The Lion and the Jewel, Royal Court Theatre; Murderous Angels, Dublin Theatre Festival; The National Health; Buddy Caravaggio, Replique, Traverse Theatre; Parcel Post. Film/TV: A Warm December (starring and directed by Sidney Poitier); “Some Mothers Do ‘Ve ‘Em,” “Crown Court,” BBC; “Tinsel”; “Dazzling Mirage”; “The Inheritors”; numerous soap operas. Awards/Honors: Officer of the Order of Niger (OON, awarded in 2006 by Nigerian Presiden Olusegun Obasanjo); Fellow of the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists. Education/Training: City Literary Institute London, the Dance Centre, Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Taiwo founded Talhouse Private Schools and Taiwo Ajai-Lycett Arts Academy, for the promotion of the arts and the training and nurturing of young Nigerian artists. 

View full biography

Joke Silva web.jpg

Ensemble

Joke Silva

Joke Silva web.jpg

Ensemble

Joke Silva

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; Her Majesty’s Visit, Abuja; Little Drops, South South States Tour; Digging for Gold (dir. Ifeoma Fafunwa); A Past Came Calling; The Fight. Film/ TV: Potato Potahto; Bandits; Diamond in the Sky; Timeless; “Gidi Up,” web series; “Battleground” (Mama Egba), “Project Fame West Africa” 2007-2016; Widow’s Cot (AMAA Award, Best Actor in a Leading Role). Theater (Executive Producer/Producer): Heartbeat The Musical, The Lion and the Jewel, Naming Ceremony, The King Must Dance Naked, 2012 Olympics. Film (Executive Producer/Producer): Potato Potahto (Best Feature Film, Silicon Valley African Film Festival; Special Jury Prize, Chelsea International Film Festival; Best Feature Film, Baltimore International Film Festival); Subterfuge, Africa Magic. Awards/Honors: Member of the Federal Republic (MFR), Lifetime Achievement Award (Wim Biz/EbonyLife).

View full biography

Bimbo Akintola web.jpg

Ensemble

Bimbo Akintola

Bimbo Akintola web.jpg

Ensemble

Bimbo Akintola

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017. Film/TV: 93 Days (AFIFF Globe Award, Best Actress of the Year); 8 Bars & A Clef; “Newman Street”; The Diamond Ring; Dangerous Twins; 90 Ninth Day; Hoodrush; Smoke & Mirrors; Heaven’s Hell. Education/Training: National Diploma Certificate, First Degree, Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

View full biography

Omonor web.jpg

Ensemble

Omonor

Omonor web.jpg

Ensemble

Omonor

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; Love & Recession (Adenronke), Nigerian Tour; The Fight (Mrs. Cole), Medicaid Cancer Foundation Abuja; Daniel (Queen Hajitha), The Vagina Monologues (Ensemble), MUSON Centre Lagos; V Monologues: The Nigerian Story (Ensemble), Lagos, Abuja; The Lion and the Jewel (Sidi), The Barbican, Theatre Royal Stratford East, UK Tour; Home (Pattie Mae), Nigerian Tour. Film/TV: “Wetin Dey,” “Twilight Di Zone,” “Against All Odds,” Anna P., Arakunrin Arabinrin Irinkunrin. Award: Best Actor, The Future Awards Nigeria A 2007. Education: B.S., Biochemistry, University of Lagos. 

View full biography

Elvina Ibru web.jpg

Ensemble

Elvina Ibru

Elvina Ibru web.jpg

Ensemble

Elvina Ibru

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; Caucasian Chalk Circle, National Youth Music Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, The Lyric Theatre London; The Vagina Monologues, MUSON Centre Lagos, Women’s Centre Abuja; Magic of the Musicals (Miss Hannigan), Ultima Studios Lagos. Film: Letters to a Stranger, Theo’s Dora, Cajole, Alter Ego, Women on Strike. Awards: University of Lagos Faculty of Arts Students Association (FASA) Award for Developing Youth through Entertainment; Beatz Award for On-Air Personality of the Year 2016; Excellence Special Awards, Special Recognition for Excellence in Entertainment. Education/Training: The London Academy of Performing Arts (LAPA); Webster University, Regents Park, London.

View full biography

Ufuoma McDermott web.jpg

Ensemble

Ufuoma McDermott

Ufuoma McDermott web.jpg

Ensemble

Ufuoma McDermott

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017. Film/TV: over fifty movies and four TV series, including Okafor’s Law (Ify Omene); The Women (Omoh); Wives on Strike (Mama Amina); Wives on Strike 2, Christmas is Coming (Henri, Director, Writer, Producer); Jungle Jewel (Producer, AMVCA Award nomination); What Just Happened (Producer). Awards: The Nymph Award nomination, 50th Monte Carlo TV Festival (nominated alongside Tina Fey, January Jones, and Jane Krakowski); The Future Award; Terracotta Award; Nigeria Entertainment Award. Education/Training: M.A., Public and International A airs; acting certificate, New York Film Academy Los Angeles; certificate, London Business School; Relativity School Los Angeles; Hollywood Film Institute (student of Dov Simens).

View full biography

Udofia-Ejoh for web.jpg

Ensemble

Zara Udofia-Ejoh

Udofia-Ejoh for web.jpg

Ensemble

Zara Udofia-Ejoh

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; Morning Yet on Judgement Day (Mary), Freedom Park Lagos; Little Drops, NDDC, Nigeria Regional Tour, Azue; Okonkwo’s Inquest, Oxzygen Koncepts, Terra Kulture Lagos; Kakadu the Musical (Amonia, Theatre Production of the Year Award), Lagos, Davos; Heartbeat The Musical (Arinola), The Garden Theatre Lagos; Things Fall Apart, Collective Artistes, International Tour, Kennedy Center; Sense of Belonging, Royal National Theatre Studios London. Dance: Fear Abides With Me Constantly, Oxzygen Koncepts. Film/TV: “Everything In Between” (Dayna), TIERS Nigeria; “Best Friends,” EbonyLife TV, DSTV; Big Daddy, Amaka Igwe productions; “Battleground,” Africa Magic; 93 Days, Native FilmWorks, Michel Angelo Productions, Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions. 

View full biography

rita hs web.jpg

Ensemble

Rita Edward

rita hs web.jpg

Ensemble

Rita Edward

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; Still Single in Gidi, Lagos Theatre Festival, Freedom Park Lagos. Film/TV: 93 Days, Native FilmWorks, Michel Angelo Productions, Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions; Isoken, 85 Pictures; “Tinsel,” Africa Magic; “Inspector K,” web series; Uncloaked, House5 and Iroko Productions.

View full biography

Odenike web.jpg

Ensemble

Odenike

Odenike web.jpg

Ensemble

Odenike

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; The Wives (Tobi), Terra Kulture Lagos; Shattered, British Council Lagos Theatre Festival/Eko Hotel and Suites. Film/TV: What Lies Within (Best of Nollywood Award, Best Actress); Lunch Time Heroes, Pheban Films; “Battleground,” “Head Over Heels,” Africa Magic; “Ojo’s in d’House,” EbonyLife TV; “We’re Never Gonna Make It” (Writer), Accelerate TV. Education/ Training: Summer encore program, American Academy of Dramatic Arts; Screenwriting, Hatch Africa & British Council; “The Spirited Actor” (now Top Actor); B.S., Business Administration.

View full biography

Deborah Ohiri web.jpg

Ensemble

Deborah Ohiri

Deborah Ohiri web.jpg

Ensemble

Deborah Ohiri

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; Rubiewe, Pawstudios; The Secret Life of Baba Segi’s Wives (Actor/Lead Singer), Iyalode of Eti (Iyalode), AKE Festival in Abeokuta; SARO The Musical, Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions; Waiting for a Lottery, British Council Lagos Theatre Festival, Oxzygen Koncepts; Ajayi Write to Freedom (Music Director/Lead Singer, Quramo Publisher Award); Love & Recession (dir. Ifeoma Fafunwa). Film/ TV: “Project Fame West Africa” (Top 14 Finalist); “Busted” (Officer Titus); The Gods Are Still Not to Blame (Soundtrack); Taxi Driver (Oko Asewo, Soundtrack), Filmone/House 5 Productions; Stormy Heart (Judith Audu Productions). Award: POPA Awards 2017 Golden Voice of Theatre.

View full biography

Band

Percussion

Blessing Idireri A.K.A Kacoman

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; Wakaa! the Musical, Lagos, London; SARO the Musical, Lagos, London; Love & Recession (dir. Ifeoma Fafunwa), Nigerian Tour; Fela Arrest the Music, Lagos; Gula; Moremi the Musical; Fela and the Kalakuta Queens; BJ Sax Live in Concert; AMAA Awards Kigali 2017.

View full biography

Percussion

Emeka Anokwuru A.K.A. Make Beat

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center, Connecticut State University, Frascati Theater Amsterdam. Theater: HEAR WORD! Nigerian Tour 2014-2017; Love & Recession (dir. Ifeoma Fafunwa), Nigerian Tour; SARO the Musical, Lagos, London; Wakaa! the Musical, Lagos, London; Fela Arrest the Music; BJ Sax Live in Concert; Ajayi Write to Freedom; Dance of the Rivers; Moremi the Musical; Fela and the Kalakuta Queens

View full biography

Percussion

Ebisidor Asiyai

A.R.T.: HEAR WORD!. Theater: My Culture My Pride, Wole Soyinka @ 77, Lagos, Spain; Ajigbe, Lagos, Germany; Black Podium, Johnny Walker Nigerian Tour; Dance of the Rivers, Lagos, Port Harcourt; BJ Sax Live in Concert, Lagos; Ajayi the Writer, Lagos; Moremi the Musical, Lagos; Rough Cuts Project, Royal Court Theatre.

View full biography

Additional staff

Assistant Stage Manager

Kathryn Hausler

Assistant Stage Manager

Kathryn Hausler

A.R.T.: Stage Manager: Dragon Cycle, The Donkey Show; Assistant Stage Manager: SIX, HEAR WORD!; Production Assistant: The Night of the Iguana (Sub to James Earl Jones), Fingersmith (and Child Wrangler); Stage Operations: Endlings, Jagged Little Pill, The White Card. Stage Manager: Blue Man Group Boston. Stage Management Intern: Mystère, Cirque du Soleil. Assistant Stage Manager: Cirque of the Dead 2016 and 2017, Throwback Tales: a Retro Spectacular, Boston Circus Guild. Education: BFA, Stage & Production Management (Cum laude) 2017, Emerson College.

View full biography

Assistant Lighting Designer

Zach Molin

Assistant Sound Designer

Brendan F Doyle

Movement

Zara Udofia-Ejoh, Qudus Onikeku, Ifeoma Fafunwa, Justin Ezerim

Video Programmer

Jeremy Goldenberg

Video Programmer

Jeremy Goldenberg

View full biography

A.R.T. Institute Production Dramaturg

Rebecca Curran

Production Assistants

Susan Udo, Julius Wade (Harvard University Arts and Museum Fellow, supported by the Harvard University Office of Career Services)