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
Meet the Creative Team
Neuza Pereira Sa
Assistant Director &
Set & Costume
Social Media Manager
Shakespeare & Maritime History
Extra Special Thanks
The Bridewell Centre, Goldsmiths University of London, SOAS, RADA, Trinity Community Arts, The Fenton Arts Trust, Heritage Fund, UK Research and Innovation, Maisha Ahmed, David Alvarado, Charlie Baird, Grace Baird, Michael Baird, Bob Barker, Anne Born, Kerreen Brandt, Alex Carpenter, Peter Charlton, May Cheng, Margie Cleland, Claire Coast-Smith, Lisa Dawson, John Downs, Lysa Dicks, Julie Edwards, Mic Errington, Mick Escott, Scott Farber, Jeannine Farr, Sherwyn Fullington, Caroline Gabriel, Zach Gieske, Celia Gilbert, Ian Giles, Frances Gray, A.R. Greenway, Wendy Hemmings, Melissa House, Raveem Ismail, Will Jelliffe, Annette Johnson, Peter Jolly, Peter Jones, Miranda Kaufmann, Allen Kennedy, Daniel Leroux, Lilia Lillies, Victor Lirio, Nicole Melendez, Lauren Melnick, Caroline Mozley, Jillian Nelson, Michael Ohajuru, Howard Owens, Jim & Gayle Pfeil, Dyan Pike, Amma Poku, Benjamin Priestman, Lauren Prusiner & Vincent Fish, Paul & Christine Prusiner, Sandra Prusiner, Gerit Quealy, John Rankin, Julianne Rhoads, Eric Ringold, Robin Warner Stanwell Roads, Anne Rowley, Mary Stephens, Dory Schultz, Elly Shepherd, Jaspreet Singh, Barbara Sippel, David Sippel, Christopher Smith, Omeyoma Smith, Teressa Snyder, Sophia Staddon, Mary Stephens, Ian Tanguy, Lindsay Tanner, Benjamin Thapa, Jeannine Thurston, Ernest Wayne Torigoe, Lloyd Trott, Lee & Melinda Varian, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Anne Warner-Reitz, Jac Wynn and all our Anonymous Donors