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In 1821, 40 years before the end of slavery, a Black theatre company dared to perform Shakespeare. The African Company Presents Richard III by Carlyle Brown tells the story of a homegrown company of free black actors, in 1820s Manhattan, passionate about creating art out of their own experience, drawing packed houses of blacks—and whites. Performing jobs of servitude by day, they rehearse Richard III at night. Based on a real incident, this provocative play is a must-see for Shakespeare and theatre history lovers—and anyone else who cares to ask: Who owns Shakespeare’s words?

Help us bring this thrilling project to life in our 2018 season. 


The African Company Presents Richard III

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Donation Total: $250