Chipo Chung

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Chipo Chung
Born (1977-08-17) 17 August 1977 (age 43)
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Chipo Tariro Chung (born 17 August 1977)[1] is a Zimbabwean actress and activist based in London.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Chung was born as a refugee in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is of half-Zimbabwean of Mberengwa origin and half-Chinese descent. Her given name Chipo means "gift" in the Shona language. She spent her first two years in refugee camps in Mozambique with thousands of young people who were escaping the war in then-Rhodesia.[3]

Chung was raised in Harare where she attended Dominican Convent High School and developed her acting with the mixed-race theater company Over the Edge. At eighteen, she moved to the United States where her mother Fay Chung was working for the United Nations. Fay Chung is an educationist and former minister of education in Zimbabwe Her father is Rugare Gumbo from Mberengwa district Zimbabwe who was once a member of the ruling party in Zimbabwe.[4]


Chung first studied directing at Yale University, then trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London and graduated in 2003.[5]

Her repertoire includes political theatre: Talking to Terrorists (Royal Court Theatre), The Overwhelming (Royal National Theatre) and Fallujah (in which she played Condoleezza Rice), as well as classical plays such as Phedre, in which she performed with Helen Mirren (Royal National Theatre), and Epidavros.

She has appeared twice in Doctor Who,[6] in one episode playing the Master's assistant Chantho,[7] and in another, a character called the Fortune Teller.[8] Her first film credit was as the voice of Icarus II in Danny Boyle's Sunshine, as well as appearances in In the Loop and Proof. Other television appearances include the drama The Last Enemy and as a reporter in the Sherlock second series episode "The Hounds of Baskerville".

In 2011 she had a recurring role as Vivian, an indentured servant at King Uther's court who then works as an attendant and messenger for Morgan, half-sister of King Arthur, in the medieval romance drama series Camelot. She appeared in the 2015 British TV series Fortitude as Trish Stoddart.

In 2015 she won the role of Mary Magdalene in the TV series, A.D. The Bible Continues. The show was hailed for its international and multi racial casting and opened to 11 million viewers in April 2015.

In 2017, Chung took on the role of Queen Dido in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Dido, Queen of Carthage by the playwright Christopher Marlowe.[5] She also played Agent Whitman in Absentia [9] and from 2017 to 2019 the Master on the TV series Into the Badlands.[10]


Chung co-founded alongside founder Nick Reding the charity SAFE-Kenya[11] which develops theatre for social change in Kenya, focusing on HIV education and abolishing clitoridectomy, and currently sits on its Board of Trustees. She works closely with the charity Peace Direct in support of Envision Zimbabwe, a women's trust that works towards consensus-building and peace in Zimbabwe. She also sits on the RADA Council and British Equity's International Committee for Artists' Freedom (ICAF).

In December 2019, along with 42 other leading cultural figures, Chung signed a letter endorsing the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership in the 2019 general election. The letter stated that "Labour's election manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership offers a transformative plan that prioritises the needs of people and the planet over private profit and the vested interests of a few."[12][13]


Mobile App[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2017 Deep Time Walk The Scientist


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Proof University Friend
2007 Sunshine Icarus II (voice)
2009 In the Loop Annabelle Hsin
2011 360 Editor
2012 Labalaba, He'll Return Atika Short film
2013 Red Zone Starling (voice) Short film
2014 Beyond Plain Sight Agnes Takahata Short film
2018 Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! African Troublesome Trucks, Various African Characters (voice) UK & US versions


Year Title Role Notes
2003 Absolute Power Miriam Episode: "History Man"
2007 Dalziel and Pascoe Layla Jadwin 2 episodes
2007–2008 Doctor Who Chantho, Fortune Teller Episodes "Utopia" & "Turn Left"
2007 Holby City Dr. Nicola Wood Episode: "Past Imperfect"
2008 The Last Enemy Lucy Fox 2 episodes
2009 Casualty Dan Dan Episode: "Who Do You Think You Are?"
2009 National Theatre Live Ismene Episode: "Phédre"
2010 Identity Michelle Fielding Episode: "Second Life"
2011 Camelot Vivian 8 episodes
2012 Sherlock Presenter Episode: "The Hounds of Baskerville"
2015 Fortitude Trish Stoddart 5 episodes
2015 A.D. The Bible Continues Mary Magdalene 12 episodes
2015 From Darkness Jemima Greer Episode: "Episode #1.2"
2016 Thirteen Alia Symes 3 episodes
2017 Absentia Agent Whitman 7 episodes
2017–2019 Into the Badlands The Master 14 episodes
2018 Thomas & Friends Hong-Mei, African Trucks UK/US voice

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2017 Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Narrator


  1. ^ "Chipo Tariro Chung". Retrieved 31 March 2017.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Bonnie Greer (31 July 2011). "How We Met: Chipo Chung & Bonnie Greer". The Independent. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  3. ^ "100 Women: Chipo Chung on identity, acting and activism". London: BBC. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Chipo Chung: International actress of repute". The Standard. Zimbabwe. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b Williams, Holly (14 September 2017). "Chipo Chung: 'I had to go round the houses to get into theatre'". THE STAGE. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  6. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (5 January 2019). "8 actors who played more than one role in Doctor Who". Digital Spy. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  7. ^ Battersby, Matilda (5 April 2015). "A.D's Mary Magdalene, Chipo Chung: Jesus was really advanced in his views on women". Independent. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  8. ^ "15 actors who've appeared in 'Doctor Who' as different characters - Page 2 of 3". CultBox. 18 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  9. ^ Mbiriyamveka, Jonathan (6 December 2017). "Chipo Chung charms M-Net viewing audiences in Absentia". Gem Nation. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  10. ^ Bell, Shavonne (April 2019). "(SPOILERS) Into the Badlands Q&A – Chipo Chung (The Master)" (Press release). AMC Network. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  11. ^ "S.A.F.E. Homepage". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Vote for hope and a decent future". The Guardian. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  13. ^ Proctor, Kate (3 December 2019). "Coogan and Klein lead cultural figures backing Corbyn and Labour". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 December 2019.

External links[edit]