ABG Productions In Association with Neil McPherson Presents European Premiere of RACHEL at Finborough Theatre, 30 September - 25 October
"Today, we colored men and women, everywhere - are up against it... In the South, they make it as impossible as they can for us to get educated. In the North, they make a pretence of liberality; they give us the ballot and a good education, and then snuff us out. Each year, the problem just to live, gets more difficult to solve."
Rediscovered by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson, Rachel is a genuinely lost landmark of American theatre - the first play by an African American woman ever produced professionally. Directed by exciting young director Ola Ince, as part of Black History Month, the European premiere of Rachel opens at the multi award-winning Finborough Theatre for a four week limited season on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 (Press Night: Thursday, 2 October at 7.30pm)
Rachel is a young, educated, middle-class woman.
But she is born into an African-American family in the early 20th century - a world in which ignorance and violence prevail.
While her family and neighbours find different ways to survive, Rachel's dreams of getting married and becoming a mother collide with the tragic events of her family's past as she confronts the harsh reality of a racist world.
"Our hands are clean; theirs are red with blood. We are destined to failure - they, to success. Their children shall grow up in hope; ours, in despair."
Written exactly midway between the American Civil War and the end of slavery, and the explosion of Civil Rights in the 1960s, this hauntingly beautiful and profoundly shocking play still asks urgent questions for today.
Rachel was first produced by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1916 in Washington, D.C., and subsequently at the Neighborhood Theater, New York City, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with an all-black cast. Leading African-American historian Alain Leroy Locke said of Rachel that it was "the first successful drama written by a Negro and interpreted by Negro actors."
Playwright Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958) was a poet, dramatist, journalist, teacher, essayist, radical feminist and lesbian icon. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, into an unusual and distinguished mixed-race family which, within the three preceding generations, included slaveholders and slaves, free black people, white abolitionists, and advocates for women's rights and women's suffrage. She is widely regarded as a leading forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance, the cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem between the end of the First World War and the middle of the 1930s including such seminal figures as James Baldwin and Langston Hughes.
Director Ola Ince returns to the Finborough Theatre where she has directed the world premiere of Chris Dunkley's The Soft of Her Palm and May Sumbwanyambe's Back Home Contemplation as part of The Papatango New Writing Festival; and was formerly a Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre, assisting on Fanta Orange and Blue Serge. Trained at Rose Bruford College in Theatre Directing. Direction includes Treading Air (Bush Theatre), HOT (Invertigo at the Hightide Festival), A Piece of Cake (Tristan Bates Theatre), Pets Corner (Arcola Theatre), One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (The Clare Theatre at The Young Vic), and Games (Pleasance London). Assistant Direction includes Porgy and Bess (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park), A Taste of Honey (National Theatre), Josephine and I (Bush Theatre), Wild Swans and Disco Pigs (The Young Vic) and Secret Thoughts and The Demolition Man (Octagon Theatre, Bolton).
The press on director Ola Ince's production of The Soft of Her Palm at the Finborough Theatre
"The production is simple, slick and invasive, it will unsettle you and make you think, what more do you want from a night at the theatre." The Good Review
"The stage direction was impeccable in delivering these scenes with disturbing conviction." Everything Theatre
"The production is well paced and continuity between the scenes is neatly and seamlessly achieved under Ola Ince's direction." One Stop Arts
"Skilfully directed by Ola Ince with an excellent cast." UKTheatre
PRESS NIGHT: THURSDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2014 AT 7.30PM
PHOTOCALL: TUESDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2014 AT 1.00PM-1.30PM
Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED Box Office 0844 847 1652 Book online at www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk
Tuesday, 30 September- Saturday, 25 October 2014
Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm. Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm. Saturday matinees at 3.00pm (from the second week of the run).
Ticket Prices for Weeks One and Two (30 September-12 October 2014) - Tickets £16, £14 concessions, except Tuesday evenings £12 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.
Previews (30 September and 1 October) £12 all seats.
£10 tickets for under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.
£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on the first Saturday of the run only.
Ticket Prices for Weeks Three and Four (14-25 October 2014) - Tickets £18, £16 concessions, except Tuesday evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.
For more information, interviews and images, please contact
Neil McPherson on e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 07977173135
Download press releases and images at http://www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/press-resources.php.