The Hamlet Voyage

16-17 July, 2022 -- Bristol Harbour Festival

20-23 July, 2022 -- Bridewell Theatre, London

Hamlet was performed in 1607 in Sierra Leone. We want to know why.

The Hamlet Voyage is a new play about the first record of Shakespeare being performed outside Europe: a production of Hamlet, acted by sailors in 1607 for West African dignitaries, during the first English voyage to reach Mughal India.

 

A theatrical critique of the very beginnings of British colonial ambitions drawing on classical performance across three continents -- from Shakespeare & sea shanties to West African storytelling & drumming to South Asian music & puppetry. This play examined a cross-cultural encounter that took place before England became deeply involved in the Atlantic slave trade, before the age of British imperialism, and before Shakespeare became a global name.

We performed on a replica sailing ship, The Matthew, in July 2022, the 415th anniversary of the original Hamlet performance. From there, we transferred to the Bridewell Theatre in London.

Photos by Dan Fearon and Edward Felton

Learn about the history

Want to learn more about the history of the voyage that our play is based on, including the controversy about whether these performances of Hamlet really happened? Check out our new EDUCATION WEBSITE, developed as part of our school outreach project supported by Heritage Lottery Fund.

Meet the Cast

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Pauline Babula

ADAMA

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Marième Diouf

MUSU

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Joe Feeney

GEORGE KING

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Eliot Giuralarocca

WILLIAM KEELING

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Danann McAleer

EDMUND BUCKBURY

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Adam Scott-Rowley

JOHN ROGERS

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Natali Servat

NUR MAHAL

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Ray Sesay

PRINCE KPANA

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Ayodele Scott

LUCAS FERNANDES

Meet the Creative Team

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Kwaku Ankomah

Producer

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Pamela Schermann

Consultant Producer

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Ben Prusiner

Director

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Rex Obano

Writer

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Neuza Pereira Sa

Assistant Director &

Assistant Designer

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Olivia Altaras

Set & Costume

Designer

Anurupa Roy

Puppetry Director

& Designer

Jeevan Singh

Music Director

David Dravie-John

Movement Director

Lysa Dicks

Social Media Manager

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Sophia Staddon

Social Media

Officer

Joseph Bangura

Dramaturge:

Temne Culture

Laurence Publicover

Dramaturge:

Shakespeare & Maritime History

Jiamiao Chen

Researcher

Supported by

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Extra Special Thanks

to all our supporters including

David Alvarado, Michael Baird, Bob Barker, Anne Born, Kerreen Brandt, Alex Carpenter, Peter Charlton, Margie Cleland, Claire Coast-Smith, Julie Edwards, Mic Errington, Scott Farber, Jeannine Farr, Sherwyn Fullington, Caroline Gabriel, Celia Gilbert, Ian Giles, Frances Gray, A.R. Greenway, Melissa House, Raveem Ismail, Will Jelliffe, Annette Johnson, Peter Jolly, Peter Jones, Miranda Kaufmann, Allen Kennedy, Daniel Leroux, Victor Lirio, Nicole Melendez, Lauren Melnick, Caroline Mozley, Michael Ohajuru, Howard Owens, Jim & Gayle Pfeil, Dyan Pike, Lauren Prusiner & Vincent Fish, Paul & Christine Prusiner, Sandra Prusiner, Gerit Quealy, Julianne Rhoads, Eric Ringold, Robin Warner Stanwell Roads, Dory Schultz, Elly Shepherd, Jaspreet Singh, Barbara Sippel, David Sippel, Lindsay Tanner, Benjamin Thapa, Jeannine Thurston, Ernest Wayne Torigoe, Lee & Melinda Varian, Jac Wynn

and all our Anonymous donors