Special event Adults

Rehearsed Reading | Maud Sulter: Service to Empire

Online via YouTube
  • Monday 28 November, 6-7.30pm


In a unique live broadcast, National Galleries Scotland present the first abridged rehearsed reading from the play by Maud Sulter, Service to Empire. Directed and abridged by Adura Onashile and co-curated with Mother Tongue. The reading will be followed by a live Q&A.

Best known as an artist and poet, Sulter wrote Service to Empire, published with her imprint A19 in 2002. In this play she reimagines the relationship between the parents of Jerry Rawlings: his father was a Scot, his mother Ghanaian. Exploring long-lasting colonial legacies across two continents, Sulter considered her play provides ‘an incisive observation of the explosive reverberations’ of their affair and its impact on Ghana’s former President (in office 1979-2002). Since the play was written 20 years ago, it has never been performed. This reading is long overdue bringing to light the work of this internationally renowned artist. 

With Art Fund support and funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, with generous input from the Estate of Maud Sulter. 



Big Man John                    Paul McCole

Madam Victoria               Michelle Chantelle Hopewell

Kweku                                 Chinedu Igu

Bonnie                                Stephanie McGregor

John John/JJ                      Benjamin Osugo


Director                              Adura Onashile

Abridged by                       Adura Onashile

Cinematographer             Basharat Khan

Edited                                 Basharat Khan

Sound Engineer                Scott Walker

Sound Design                    Claudia Vasiliu

Costume Design               Sam Wood/ Palimpsest

Maud Sulter, Service to Empire, 2002 © The Estate of Maud Sulter, 2022. Abridged and Directed by Adura Onashile (2022). With kind permission of the Estate of Maud Sulter.

Maud Sulter (1960-2008) was a contemporary fine artist, photographer, writer and curator of Ghanaian and Scottish heritage who lived and worked in Britain. She was a writer, poet, academic, curator and photographer.

Adura Onashile is an award-winning Glasgow based actor, writer, and director whose work is known to Scottish audiences. She has worked with the National Theatre of Scotland, The Lyceum, The National, The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Young Vic. 

Mother Tongue is an independent curatorial duo, formed by Tiffany Boyle and Jessica Carden, who produce exhibitions, screenings, events and texts, with recent collaborations including The Golden Fibre at the V&A Dundee and an Art Fund New Collecting Award acquisitions project with Glasgow Museums.

© Estate of Maud Sulter. All rights reserved, DACS 2022

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