On the boat from India, Rani, an ayah (nursemaid) 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.
Directed by Pooja Ghai, Artistic Director of Tamasha, Tanika Gupta’s 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.
The Empress will run at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre from 18 July – 18 November 2023.
The Empress will transfer to London’s Lyric Hammersmith Theatre for four weeks only from 4 to 28 October 2023.