Nina—A Story about Me and Nina Simone

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 7:30pm

Bing Theatre (BIT)
3500 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Nina—A Story about Me and Nina Simone
A Performance by Josette Bushell-Mingo       


Admission is free. Reservations required. RSVP beginning Monday, December 9, at 9 a.m. 


 “When I began the artistic process for Nina—A Story about Me and Nina Simone, I thought that the piece was going to be about my relationship with Nina. I have found that it is much more than that. The production is about our relationship to each other, through the prism of blackness.”—Josette Bushell-Mingo

Josette Bushell-Mingo’s searing and soulful theatrical production inspired by the life and music of legendary artist and activist Nina Simone will make its U.S. premiere at USC. With live musical accompaniment, Bushell-Mingo connects Nina Simone’s political acts as part of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement to struggles in her personal life and persisting inequities in today’s society, questioning how far we’ve really come. Some of Nina Simone’s best-loved songs gain new life in this production directed by Dritëro Kasapi with musical direction by Shapor Bastansiar. The performance will be followed a post-show conversation with Bushell-Mingo and USC professor Anita Dashiell-Sparks.

Nina—A Story about Me and Nina Simone was originally performed at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool in 2016, and toured Sweden before its London premiere at the Young Vic and Scottish premiere at the Traverse Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. The show toured the UK in spring 2018.

Josette Bushell-Mingo
(performer) is a Sweden-based English theatre actress and director of African descent. She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in 2000 for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Rafiki in the London production of Disney’s The Lion King. In 2001, Josette founded the black-led arts festival PUSH at the Young Vic. In 2006, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. In 2007, she directed the theatrical production of Margaret Atwood‘s novella The Penelopiad. Her production of The Odyssey, performed in Swedish Sign Language, received huge critical acclaim in Scandinavia. Bushell-Mingo sits on the board of the Swedish Film Institute, and is currently the artistic director for Tyst Teater, an ensemble of the Swedish National Touring Theatre.

Shapor Bastansiar (musical director/piano) was born in Iran into an artistic family and began to study at Tehran Conservatory of Music at the age of 10, choosing the piano as his main instrument. After receiving his diploma, he began studying musical composition and worked as the stage manager for opera and ballet at Roudaki Hall in Tehran. Since then, he has composed countless pieces in musical styles ranging from classical to pop and folk that have been performed by symphony and philharmonic orchestras around the world, including WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, the Oberhausen Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Bastansiar himself.

Additional Link:
The Guardian: “Nina review — searing tribute restarts Simone’s revolution.”

Related Events:
From the Personal to the Political to the Stage

Thursday, January 16, 2020, at 7 p.m.
Wong Conference Center, Harris Hall 101
For more info, click here.

Performance, Politics, and Power
A Workshop with Josette Bushell-Mingo

Friday, January 17, 2020, at 10 a.m.
Physical Education Building 207
For more info, click here.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by Brent Blair (Dramatic Arts), Anita Dashiell-Sparks (Dramatic Arts), and Suzanne Lacy (Art and Design). 

Event Type

Arts, Music, Dance/Theater, Event Highlights


Students, Faculty/Staff, Alumni


University Park Campus


music, Dramatic Arts, Art & design, employees



Admission is free. Reservations required.

Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative


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