It is 1887, the year Queen Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee.

Sixteen year old Rani Das, ayah (nursemaid) to an English family arrives at Tilbury docks after a long voyage from India, to start a new life in Britain.

On the boat, Rani befriends a lascar (sailor), an Indian politician and a royal servant destined to serve the Queen. Full of hopes and dreams of what lies ahead, they each embark on an extraordinary journey.

Will their expectations come true or will they have to forge a different path in their new country?

Spanning 13 years over the ‘Golden Era’ of Empire, this story blends the experiences of Indian ayahs and lascars who worked on the ships carrying trade goods, alongside the first Indian politician to be elected as a Member of Parliament. This epic story reveals how socially diverse the Asian presence was in nineteenth century Britain.

Transferring directly from the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and directed by Pooja Ghai, Artistic Director of Tamasha, this new production of The Empress will take you from the rugged gangways of Tilbury docks to the grandeur of Queen Victoria’s Palace, whilst unveiling the long and embedded culture of British Asian history.

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A Royal Shakespeare Company production
The Empress
By Tanika Gupta
Directed by Pooja Ghai
Design by Rosa Maggiora
Lighting by Matt Haskins
Music and Sound by Ben and Max Ringham
Movement by Wayne Parsons
Dramaturgy by Pippa Hill
Fights and Intimacy by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown
Casting by Matthew Dewsbury CDG and Martin Poile

Dates: Wednesday 04 – Saturday 28 October 2023
Press Night: Tuesday 10 October 2023, 7pm
Audio Described Performance: Tuesday 17 October, 7.30pm
Chilled Environment Performance: Wednesday 18 October, 1.30pm
Open Captioned Performance: Friday 20 October, 7.30pm
Integrated BSL Performance: Friday 27 October, 7.30pm
Swan Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon dates: Friday 7 July- Saturday 18 November