Written by Tanika Gupta. Directed by Pooja Ghai. Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
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.