Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey by Mojisola Adebayo and the Antarctic Collective, is inspired by the story of Ellen Craft, a 19th century African-American slave woman who escaped to freedom by disguising herself as a white man.
The play extends Craft’s story into a theatrical fantasy. On arriving in Victorian London, she finds work as a sailor on a whaling ship bound for the Southern Seas. When the ship arrives in Antarctic waters, Moj becomes the first black woman to step foot in Antarctica.
Moj of the Antarctic is also an ecological exploration, highlighting important connections between Antarctica, climate change, famine and the coastal erosion of historical slave sites in Africa.
The production incorporates video, text, dance, music, storytelling, song and original photography created for the piece on location in Antarctica by queer visual artist Del LaGrace Volcano.
Moj of the Antarctic launched its British Council South Africa Tour in 2008, with a return to the Oval House Theatre (Downstairs), London, in May 2008. It was first performed at the Oval in 2007 and the Lyric Hammersmith, London in 2006.
Mojisola Adebayo collaborates with British and international artists from a variety of different disciplines to create new text-based physical theatre performed within a broad African aesthetic to explore contemporary issues such as climate change, racism, perceptions of Islam and the Middle East.
Ellen Craft and William Craft's autobiography, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, is published by BiblioBazaar Books (2007).
photo: Del La Grace Volcano