Tanika Gupta's new play The Empress begins in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, when Rani Das and Abdul Karim step ashore onto London's Tilbury Docks after a long voyage from India.
One has to battle a society who deems her a second class citizen, the other forges an entanglement with the ageing Queen who finds herself enchanted by stories of an India she rules but has never seen.
The play blends the true story of Queen Victoria's relationship with her servant and 'Munshi' (teacher) Abdul Karim, with the experiences of Indian ayahs who came to Britain during the 19th century.
The Empress was directed by Emma Rice, Artistic Director of Kneehigh Theatre. It played played in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 11 April to 4 May 2013.
Explore the play
Photo: Ray Panthaki as Hari and Anneika Rose as Rani, by Steve Tanner.