Mojisola Kareem-Elufowoju is a director and founder of Utopia Theatre, an African theatre company based in Sheffield. Mojisola is passionate about working with those underrepresented in the arts and works to raise awareness of African theatre – celebrating its culture, language, and traditions. With extensive awards under her belt, Mojisola began her career at York Theatre Royal and has worked on numerous plays since then, including at the National Theatre and Sheffield's well-loved productions Far Gone and Shadows in Different Shades.
Through projects in theatres, online and in community spaces, Mojisola constantly inspires, engages and empowers present and future artists, highlighting that the talent of Black people is undeniable and spreads across continents.
I spoke to Mojisola to find out more about her work at Utopia Theatre and being part of the creative community in Sheffield.
What are you currently working on?
Utopia Theatre launched its Youth Academy in February 2023, which runs performing arts classes and workshops for 9- to 19-year-olds alongside a programme of mentoring and training. It’s the first of its kind in Sheffield, breaking down barriers and providing opportunities for young people of African and Caribbean descent, as well as those from other minority groups.
Our community performance All Our Goals kickstarted the year for us at the Crucible. It told the story of Emma Clarke, thought to be Britain’s first black female footballer, brought to life by Sheffield women of today, many of whom had not been on stage before.
We’re preparing to stage a new theatrical retelling of the storybook of Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke in August 2023 at the Playhouse, as well as in communities and schools across South Yorkshire. This is a piece of theatre uniting the best of African and western live performance practices, where audiences are enveloped and engaged in the storytelling at every point. It’ll be a celebration of culture, heritage and the diverse makeup of modern families, encouraging young children (and their grown-ups too!) to recognise the beauty in difference, the connection in the things that we share and to find magic and joy in the world every day.