The Empress Tickets
Award-winning playwright Tanika Gupta unveils the rich history of British Asians with a sweeping play set during Queen Victoria’s reign.
Compelling Historical Drama With The Empress TicketsDiscover the rich history of British Asians in Victorian England in the acclaimed play The Empress at Lyric Hammersmith. This epic story is a sweeping historical drama, a sensitive character study and a dual romance by award-winning playwright Tanika Gupta, and returns to the stage ten years after its premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon.
About The Empress PlayThe year is 1887, Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Sixteen year old Rani Das is an ayah (nursemaid), newly arrived at Tilbury docks. On her journey from India, Rani befriends a lascar (sailor), an Indian politician, and a royal servant who will be working at the palace. Each of them is hopeful about their new lives in Britain, and they are all about to embark on extraordinary journeys.
During this “Golden Era” of Empire, will their expectations come true, or will their paths in England be very different from what they imagined?
Tanika Gupta’s play, directed by Pooja Ghai, transfers directly from the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, where it was praised as “resonant [...] and relevant” (The Guardian) with “a cinematic sweep” (The Times). This new staging also features an updated and revised script that deepens the connections and resonances of the story a decade on, making it eminently rewatchable for new and old audiences alike.
The Empress Creative TeamThe Empress is written by acclaimed playwright Tanika Gupta and directed by Pooja Ghai. It follows Gupta’s acclaimed reimagining of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, re-set and re-imagined in colonial India, that also ran at Lyric Hammersmith in 2019.
Gupta’s other works include an adaptation of Hobson’s Choice at the Young Vic in 2003, and Anita and Me, adapted from Meera Syal’s novel for Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 2015. In 2018, she won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Drama for her play Lions and Tigers, which ran at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
Director Ghai’s credits include a revival of Gupta’s Hobson’s Choice at Manchester Royal Exchange, and the premiere of Lions and Tigers.
The cast of The Empress in London includes Tanya Katyal as Rani Das, Alexandra Gilbreath as Queen Victoria and Raj Bajaj as Abdul Karim.