“To be free is very sweet”
When one woman tells of her extraordinary journey to overcome the brutality of slavery, she becomes a beacon for the British anti-slavery movement. Mary Prince was an auto-biographer and champion of freedom. Her book had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist movement helping to free many Africans in bondage.
Mary was born into enslavement on the British owned Island of Bermuda 1788? As with many enslaved people exact records of births and deaths can be difficult to come by and Mary's birth year is an estimation. She was the daughter of a House slave Sue and a Sawyer nothing unusual there but through Mary's narrative we are given rare insights into her life as an enslaved person. We learn of moments of love, conflict and some of the intricacies of chattel slavery that are seldom heard. When Mary's narrative was 1st published in 1831 it was the harsh realities the brutality of enslavement the treatment and dehumanisation of enslaved people that shocked readers. Also it was the fact of a woman speaking of flogging, of work that wasn't just back breaking but life taking. She shares with us her words and thoughts of how it felt to be enslaved, owned bought and sold. Mary's story gives us the voice of the 'chattel' those voices that are often silent, silenced, ignored or spoken for. Many who read her book could now picture enslaved people more fully as people with feelings, hopes and dreams. It also again highlighted Britain's role in enslavement. Often today many of us think of slavery as an American experience, hearing stories of the deep south, and forget that Britain played a major role. Mary's words help to remind us.
Told through theatre, song, drumming and dance, this masterpiece of Black British theatre is inspired by the storytelling traditions of the West African Griot/ Jeli.
Kuumba Nia Arts (KNA) was founded in 2009 to bring African and Caribbean peoples’ histories and contemporary stories to life through theatre and film. Our storytelling theatre form is a fusion of drama, song, dance and ritual linked to Caribbean and African roots. We celebrate and explore the black experience in all its shades, sharing universal stories through an Afro-Caribbean lens. We create theatre, workshops, projects and deliver film screenings.
We've had a successful full run at Edinburgh Fringe this summer with our show SOLD co produced with Unlock The Chains Collective winning Best Ensemble Award from Musical theatre review and with 5 and 4 star reviews. This year we are one of the Evolve companies with Oxford Playhouse, we were the first winners of the propeller scheme run by North Wall and Oxfordshire Theatre Makers. We have worked with ACKHI, Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums in Oxford on projects and performances around the Windrush Day.
Director/Co-producer: Euton Daley
Writer/Performer: Amantha Edmead
Drummer/ Performer: Angie 'Amra' Anderson
Vocal Coach: Ayo-Dele Edwards
Choreographer: Lati Saka
KNA Co - Producer: John Sailsman
The Musical Theatre Review ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
“Every so often there is a piece that touches the soul. SOLD is one such show”
The Review Hub ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
“Urgent piece of theatre...hard hitting but ultimately uplifting ”
The List ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
“Harrowing piece of physical theatre... Edmead is sensational”
Stage Talk Magazine ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
“Edmead has sensitively and powerfully brought Mary’s story to life. It’s all too easy to disregard the past as nothing but history, but hearing Mary’s words from over 200 years ago – the anguish of a mother separated from a child, the pain of finding oneself trapped with no means of escape, the sorrow of being forced to leave friends, family, and country – well, the past isn’t that much of a foreign country, is it?”
Daily Info - Oxford
'This was not the first time I have witnessed the North Wall’s stage hosting a fully-fledged production evoking a whole cast of characters with just two actors, but it may just have been the best'
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