The Empress: ‘like no other costume drama'

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This new play by Tanika Gupta offers a fascinating glimpse into the world and character of Queen Victoria.

The Empress explores the intimate relationship between the ageing monarch and her Indian attendant, Abdul Karim, alongside the remarkable stories of the Indian Ayahs living and working in 19th century London.

Director Emma Rice said: 'This will be like no other costume drama you have ever seen.

'Throw away the history books you were fed at school and open your hearts and minds to an England they tried to hide, tried to ignore and even tried to burn. Important, contemporary and bloody romantic.'

Emma, who is Artistic Director of Kneehigh, returns to the RSC following her 2006 production of Cymbeline and Don John in 2009 (in association with Bristol Old Vic).

Tanika and Emma previously worked together on their 2012 production of Wah! Wah! Girls.

Queen Victoria will be played by Beatie Edney, who last appeared in our London production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses at The Ambassadors Theatre in 1986.

Also returning to the RSC are Ankur Bahl (Gandhi); Tamzin Griffin (Lascar Sally); Kristin Hutchinson (Lady Sarah); Tony Jayawardena (Abdul Karim); Emily Mytton (Georgina); Anneika Rose (Rani Das) and Ed Woodall (Sir John Oakham).

They are joined by Rina Fatania (Firoza); Japjit Kaur (Ayah); Dominic Lawton (Lascar); Aki Omoshaybi (Serang) and Ray Panthaki (Hari).

The Empress plays in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 11 April to 4 May 2013.

Photo: Writer Tanika Gupta.

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