The Hamlet Voyage

Coming Summer 2022 - First Workshop Summer 2021

The Hamlet Voyage is a new play about the first recorded performance of Hamlet, which was acted by sailors in 1607 off the coast of Sierra Leone for local West African dignitaries, on the first English voyage to reach India.

The play will examine this 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. Together with the audience, we will imagine how history might have turned out differently and where we go from here.

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Writer Rex Obano (top left) regales the team with the plot of "The Hamlet Voyage"

We have assembled an international and multicultural team:

-Playwright Rex Obano, who has written extensively on the hidden histories of early-modern England and Black British historical drama
-Puppetry Director Anurupa Roy, whose work has explored traditional Indian shadow puppetry and Mughal history in performances in Delhi and across the world
-Director Ben Prusiner, who founded Re:Verse Theatre 10 years ago to produce plays of heightened language with a positive social impact
-Professor Joseph Bangura, who is an expert on, and member of, the Temne ethnic group, who were among the original audience for Hamlet
-Doctor Laurence Publicover, who teaches Shakespeare and Oceanic studies at Bristol University
-Producer Pamela Schermann, who has produced classical and modern theatre productions across London and Europe.

We will perform on a replica sailing ship, The Matthew, in July 2022, the 415th anniversary of the original Hamlet performance. From there, we will transfer to the replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship The Golden Hinde in London, as well as select indoor venues.