This pack supports the RSC’s 2023 production of Tanika Gupta's The Empress, directed by Pooja Ghai.

The activities provided in this pack are specifically designed to support KS3-4 students attending the performance and studying The Empress in school but all activities can be adapted for learners of different ages and abilities. The pack incorporates approaches directly from our rehearsal rooms to provide teachers and their students with the tools to explore key knowledge for the text in relation to GCSE English and Drama.

A group of rugged sailors dressed in blue and white pulling on ropes
Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC Browse and license our images

About the production 

Our 2023 production of The Empress blends the experiences of Indian ayahs and lascars who worked on the ships carrying trade goods during the ‘Golden Era’ of the Empire, alongside the first Indian politician to be elected as a Member of Parliament. The play reveals how socially diverse the Asian presence was in nineteenth century Britain. 

 Watch our The Empress Trailer


  • Synopsis

  • Activity 1: Location, Location, Location

  • Activity 2: ONE-MINUTE STORIES


  • Activity 3: SO WELL I LOVE THEE

  • Activity 4: Rough guide to India


  • Activity 5: Power and Tactics

  • Activity 6: Lascar Life

  • Activity 7: WHAT’S YOUR STATUS?

  • Activity 8: EMPRESS TOP TRUMPS