‘We and all our stories are worthy’: Adjoa Andoh delivers her inaugural lecture

Actor, director and producer Adjoa Andoh delivered her inaugural lecture as the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre on Saturday (15 October).

The lecture, Swinging the Lens – All Our Stories, saw Adjoa reflecting on the importance of telling the stories of a wide range individuals.

Adjoa spoke of her own attempts to broaden the stories that are told, including staging ‘traditional’ scripts such as Shakespeare in a modern setting, and how she has used casting to ask questions and challenge the status quo.

Adjoa summed up her aims for the year-long position: ‘I want to swing the lens on stories told. Let’s reshape some canons and familiarise ourselves with different universes.

‘Let’s guide, surprise and inspire each other as we travel through Hilary, Trinity and Michaelmas, and inculcate the notion, at this University and beyond, that there is such richness to be found in story if we openly embrace wide enough to the multiplicity of who we are, expanding access and perspective.’

Adjoa also shared her personal ‘story’, including the histories of her Ghanaian father and English mother, through family photos and anecdotes.

The lecture came as her tenure as in the visiting professor role began. A University position attached to St Catherine’s, the professorship seeks to encourage and promote the study and practice of contemporary theatre at the University.

Adjoa Andoh is the 28th to take the role on, following icons of the theatre world including Stephen Sondheim, the first professor, Arthur Miller, Dame Diana Rigg and Sir Ian McKellen.

Adjoa concluded by invited all students of the University, and interested members of the local community, to join her for a series of workshop throughout the academic year.

She said: ‘We and all our stories are worthy. I hope in this year, in our different ways, you will come swing the lens with me, and a new story will emerge, where ‘you’ and ‘I’ will become ‘we’.’

The lecture was followed by a question-and-answer session with Emeritus Fellow of St Catherine’s Dr Fram Dinshaw.

You can see the full lecture and Q&A session above, or watch it on YouTube.

Find out more about the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre.