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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Zambian actress, Maria Mukuka, cast opposite “Black Panther” Star Lupita Nyong’o in NYC Play

Feature Lifestyle Zambian actress, Maria Mukuka, cast opposite “Black Panther” Star Lupita Nyong’o in...

Maria Mukuka

Putting Zambia on the map in the international theater scene is Zambia born-and-bred actress Maria Mukuka. After completing her IB Diploma at the International School of Lusaka, Mukuka moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. Even before graduating with her undergraduate degree in theater, Mukuka made her Off-Broadway debut at the world’s largest solo theater festival, with her one-woman show, “Race Free”. The self-authored hour-long solo performance is a selection of stories about Mukuka’s childhood in Zambia, and her experiences as a bi-racial/bi-cultural artist in New York. The show, which sold out, was named a bestseller by the festival, was granted an additional performance and subsequently staged at the Pulitzer Prize winning theater New York Theater Workshop.

Maria has since earned her Master of Fine Arts in Theater and performed both Off and Off-Off-Broadway in shows at The Tank and La MaMa Experimental Theater Club.

Mukuka is passionate about contributing to the theater scene in Zambia and has collaborated with local organization and Zambia’s leading multi-disciplinary art space, Modzi Arts, which is ran by Artistic Director Taonga Julia Kaseka and has produced two of her plays: “Chief Jones” (2018) an adaptation of “The Emperor Jones” By Eugene O’Neill and “Swaggering Braggadocio” (2017) which Mukuka wrote, directed and played principal roles in. Her play “Chief Jones” was sponsored by the prestigious USA Tow Foundation and was an exploration of identity in contemporary Zambia by exploring the conflicting realities of tradition and modernization. The play also examined an individual’s responsibility to local society.

Earlier this June, Maria Mukuka was cast in Richard II by William Shakespeare in the prestigious Shakespeare in the Park series, a beloved New York City tradition for more than 60 years. This is the second summer in a row that Maria Mukuka has been cast in Shakespeare in the Park. The annual production, which takes place at the Delacorte Theater in New York’s Central Park, has so far provided free performances of world class theater to more than five million people. Due to the pandemic, this year’s production of Richard II was staged as a radio play and hosted on WNYC, the New York Public Radio. The production, featuring a cast of predominantly actors of colour, was dedicated to the Black Lives Matter Movement. New York-based, Kenyan director Saheem Ali said “it’s my hope that listening to Shakespeare’s words, broadcast in the midst of a pandemic and an uprising, will have powerful resonance in our world.” The New York Times wrote that “the mostly black cast, led by a suave Andre Holland in the title role, delivered electric performances, spotlighting the aural delights of Shakespeare’s language.” Academy Award winning Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong’o narrated the four-part audio play and was accompanied by award winning castmates including Phylicia Rashad, John Douglas Thompson, Estelle Parsons and several others. The production is available to listen to at wnycstudios.org, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other streaming services.

In addition to her burgeoning acting career, Maria Mukuka is a Lecturer of Acting at Brooklyn College, The City University of New York and a Dialect Coach specializing in African dialects for Off-Broadway productions. Mukuka considers herself a theater artist; in addition to acting, she is currently writing a new play which she describes as “boundary-pushing and filled with humor”. Maria Mukuka is eager to continue sharing Zambian culture with the world and bringing home all she’s learned.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Hhheeeesh, my heart jumped, I thought she was dead…
    Yes Maria Mukuka is more hotter than Lupita. I met her, she is just too young for me, very smart girl.

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  2. I have met this beauty before and she was very humble and patriotic. These are the diasporans I like. Successful educated and flying thr zambian flag high. Not like these Bush pigs like nostradamus, tarino and the rest who are just failures and online bullies Haha

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  3. Nostra is that what you sad chaps do there kuvyalo? I understand that it is hard for you guys to find women there who are willing to ketchy ketchy shuby shuby due to race issues. So you go to toilet and fantasiize and then fwa fwa fwa mu toilet.

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  4. Kaizar Zulu, you forgot to submit an update on where we are with your transition to the prison facilities. Did you call the prison yet for your uniform? If not, what are you waiting for? Call the prison if you haven’t and reserve a cell and a fitting uniform. Chimbokaila prison will be your home for the next 150 years. Reserve another cell for your corrupt boss, Lungu. if you fail to reserve cells we will have no choice but to throw both of you in general population. You’re both going to prison next year, for all the corruption and misery you’ve perpetrated on the innocent Zambian people. Bapompwe imwe.

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