RSC Announces Casting For THE WHIP
As the 19th Century dawns, politicians of all political persuasions gather in London to abolish the slave trade once and for all. But will the price of freedom turn out to be a multi-billion pound pay off to the slave owners, even though such a bailout could drive the country into economic and political ruin?
As morality and corruption clash in a world of men thirsty for power, two women forge an unlikely union and fight their way to the seat of political influence, challenging Members of Parliament who dare deny them their say.
In this provocative new play, directed by Kimberley Sykes, (Dido, Queen of Carthage, 2017; As You Like It, 2019), the personal collides with the political to ask what is the right thing to do and how much must it cost?
Juliet Gilkes Romero is a playwright and journalist. She has reported for the BBC from countries including Ethiopia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Her most recent work is for the TV series Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle (BBC4), co-produced with Sir Lenny Henry's Douglas Road Productions. Previously for the RSC she co-created Day of the Living, which played at The Other Place as part of the RSC's Mischief Festival in 2018. She is the recipient of the Roland Rees Bursary 2019 named in honour of the co-founder of the Alfred Fagon Award and her play At The Gates of Gaza won the Writers' Guild Best Play Award in 2009.
Talking about The Whip, Juliet said: "The 1833 Slavery abolition Act formally freed some 800,000 Caribbean slaves who were then the legal property of Britain's slave owners. What is less well known is that the same act contained a provision for the financial compensation of the owners of those slaves, by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their "property".
"In 2018 HM Treasury announced via a tweet on its Twitter-feed that the multi-billion slavery compensation bill, one of the biggest in UK history, had finally been paid off by British tax-payers in February 2015. Most Britons, including myself, had no idea we had been paying for this 182 years later. There was a social media backlash over the glib nature of tweet which was subsequently deleted. I am a descendant of colonial slavery, so the row added further urgency and fire to my creative process in creating The Whip."
Richard Clothier will return to the RSC to play Alexander Boyd. He has previously appeared in RSC productions including Troilus and Cressida, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice. His other theatre work includes Witness for the Prosecution (Eleanor Lloyd Productions); Hamlet (London Toast Theatre and HamletScenen); The Graduate (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Leicester Curve); The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With A Key To The Scriptures, Enlightenment(Hampstead Theatre) and The One That Got Away, The Mother and Play Strindberg (Ustinov, Bath).
Debbie Korley, currently appearing in the RSC production of A Museum in Baghdad, plays Mercy Pryce. Her other work at the RSC includes Tamburlaine, Timon of Athens and As You Like It. Other recent theatre includes Acceptance (Hampstead Theatre); King Lear (Talawa/Royal Exchange Theatre/Birmingham Rep); Cargo (Arcola Theatre); Welcome To Your Home, Prurience (Southbank Centre); Beowulf (Unicorn Theatre); Too Clever By Half (Told by an Idiot/Royal Exchange Theatre);Boi Boi is Dead (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Watford Palace); Black Jesus (Finborough Theatre); andCoram Boy (National Theatre).
Katherine Pearce continues her debut RSC season as Horatia. She is currently appearing in Eleanor Rhode's production of King John as Cardinal Pandulph. Her previous theatre credits include Roundabout Season (Paines Plough); The Last Ballad of Lillian Billocca (Hull Truck): Low Level Panic(Orange Tree Theatre); Husbands and Sons, Port (National Theatre); Husbands and Sons, Our Pals(Royal Exchange); Early Doors (Not Too Tame); Secret Theatre: Stab in The Dark, Chamber Piece, A Streetcar Named Desire and Woyzeck (Lyric Hammersmith).
Further cast includes: Michael Abubakar, David Birrell (Lord Maybourne), John Cummins(Cornelius Hyde Villiers), Nicholas Gerard-Martin (William Purnell), Nadi Kemp-Sayfi, Tom McCall (Anthony Bradshaw Cooper), Corey Montague-Sholay (Edmund), Riad Richie (The Speaker) and Bridgitta Roy.
Joining Kimberley Sykes on the creative team are Ciaran Bagnall (Set & Lighting Designer), Nicky Shaw (Costume Designer), Akintayo Akinbode (Music), Claire Windsor (Sound), Coral Messam(Movement) and Kev McCurdy (Fights).