Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE (born 16 February 1964) is a Swedish-based English theatre actress and director of African descent, who was born in London and has been living and working in Sweden for many years. She is currently the artistic director for The Swedish National Touring Theatre Tyst teater ensemble.[1]


Josette Bushell-Mingo was born in 1964 in Lewisham, south-east London, to Guyanese parents – her father was a bus driver, her mother a nurse – and grew up in Plaistow, going on to train at Barking College in Technology, Romford.[2][3]

In 1999 she appeared as Solveig in the Royal Exchange, Manchester production of Peer Gynt and she returned to Manchester in 2005 to play Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra. Both productions were directed by Braham Murray. She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in 2000 for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Rafiki in the London production of The Lion King.

In 2001, she founded a black-led arts festival called PUSH at the Young Vic. In 2006 she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. In 2007 she directed the theatrical production of Margaret Atwood's novella The Penelopiad. One of her three international projects of 2009 was to direct A Midsummer Nights Dream at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, a project involving second-year acting students and numerous other departments from both inside and outside the school.[needs update]

Having been living in Sweden for many years, she is currently the artistic director for The Swedish National Touring Theatre Tyst teater ensemble.[1] Her production of The Odyssey, performed in Swedish Sign Language received huge critical acclaim in Scandinavia.[4]

She is one of the nine board members of the Swedish Film Institute.

In 2016 she performed Nina – A Story About Me and Nina Simone at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool, a "deeply personal and often searing show inspired by the singer and activist Nina Simone."[5] In July 2017, the show ran at the Young Vic, before being scheduled to move to Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre.[6]

Honours and awards

  • 1992: Plays and Players player of the year for her RSC season[3]
  • 1993: Manchester Evening News best actress award for From the Mississippi Delta[3]
  • 2006: OBE for services to the theatre in the Queen's Birthday Honours.[7]
  • 2012: Stockholm Culture Prize for outstanding promotion of stage arts in Swedish sign language.[3]
  • 2017: Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role[8]

Personal life

Living in Sweden for more than 15 years, Josette is married to Swedish producer Stefan Karsberg and they have two sons named Ruben and Joshua.[9]


  1. ^ a b Lina Kalmteg. ""Hudfärg avgör vem som får rollen" SvD". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Kate Kellaway, "Racing demon", The Observer, 1 August 2004,
  3. ^ a b c d Nick Smurthwaite, "CV: Josette Bushell-Mingo", The Stage, 26 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Riksteatern – alltid nära dig!". 16 April 2008. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Lyn Gardner, "Nina review – searing tribute restarts Simone's revolution", The Guardian, 19 October 2016.
  6. ^ Matt Trueman, "Review: Nina (Young Vic)", The Stage, 25 July 2017.
  7. ^ Birthday honours: list in full, The Independent, 16 June 2006.
  8. ^ Africa Film Academy. "AMAA 2017 nomination list". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  9. ^ Nick Smurthwaite, "Josette Bushell-Mingo: ‘I’d love to come back and lead a company or run a building’", The Stage, 26 January 2017.


External links