Telling the story of Mary Prince, a woman born into slavery in the British West Indies, Amantha Edmead’s award-winning Sold will play a one-week run in London as part of the VAULT Festival 2020. Book your tickets now.
The Edinburgh Fringe hit, staged by Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective, runs at The Vaults from 28 January to 2 February 2020.
Mary Prince was born into slavery in the British West Indies and worked tirelessly there before being taken in her last years to the UK. Her story, originally published by the anti-slavery movement of the 1800s, was popular in its day, contributing enormously to the ending of slavery, but has long been forgotten and is rarely referenced or known.
Sold uses her words and experiences to explore the harsh realities of enslavement, travelling from her childhood days as a passive survivor to later in her life when she was trying to gain her freedom and change the system that kept her enslaved.
Speaking about the story, Edmead, who both wrote and stars in the show, said:
“Mary’s story is one of the unassuming heroine. Her strength and resilience to stay alive through the horrors of British chattel slavery, to fall in love, work for her freedom and share her story to help bring slavery to an end, was a huge achievement for an enslaved West Indian woman in 1831. I feel humbled to tell her story.”
Edmead, an actress and writer who has worked with companies including Talawa, Orange Tree Theatre and London Bubble, was inspired to create Sold after being encouraged to audition for a part in a production about slavery where none of the enslaved characters spoke about their experiences – the action and voices coming from the European characters and their perspectives. She was compelled to show the historic truth using the real and published words of Mary Prince, an actual victim of the British Slave Trade.
Edmead’s production tells Mary’s story using a blend of storytelling, song, dance and drumming, alongside the West African tradition of the griot, a important role in the African community that straddles being a historian, storyteller, singer, poet and musician.
Sold was first performed as a work-in-progress production at Oxford’s Offbeat Festival in 2018. It was developed, following funding from Arts Council England, and taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019, where it received a host of fantastic reviews. Musical Theatre Review said “Every so often there is a piece that touches the soul. Sold is one such show,” while The Reviews Hub described it as an “Urgent piece of theatre… hard hitting but ultimately uplifting.” It also won Musical Theatre Review’s Best Ensemble Award.
Edmead is joined in the ensemble by drummer and performer Angie Amra Anderson, one of the UK’s top African arts practitioners, who co-founded the award-winning Ekome National Dance Company and has worked with artists including Peter Gabriel, Osibisa and Fela Kuti. Sold is directed by Euton Daley, who ran Pegasus Theatre for more than 20 years and received an MBE in 2008 for his services to the Arts and Young People.
VAULT Festival, which runs from 28 January to 22 March 2020, is “London’s biggest, boldest and wildest arts and entertainment festival”. In 2019 it attracted more than 79,000 audience members to see 428 different shows staged by more than 2,000 artists.
In addition to sold, VAULT Festival’s eclectic 2020 line-up includes one-woman show The Journey of a Warlike Mind, acclaimed Kafka-inspired tale Red Peter, new drama from Sarah Henley, Essence, and immersive gaming experience Jekyll/Hyde.
Sold runs at Studio – The Vaults, Leake St, Lambeth, SE1 7NN from 28 January to 2 February 2020 with performances Tuesday to Saturday 7.20 pm, matinee Sunday 4.30 pm. Tickets are priced from £10. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!!
About Kuumba Nia Arts
Amantha Edmead founded Kuumba Nia Arts to bring African and Caribbean peoples’ histories and contemporary stories to life through theatre and film. Their storytelling theatre form is a fusion of drama, song, dance and ritual linked to Caribbean and African roots. They celebrate and explore the black experience in all its shades, sharing universal stories through an Afro Caribbean lens. Kuumba Nia Arts are Artists-in-Residence as part of the Oxford Playhouse EVOLVE scheme – offering emerging artists artistic, organisational and financial support to take the next step up in their careers.