Image: The Vaults
“to Be Free Is Very Sweet”
When one woman tells of her extraordinary journey to overcome the brutality of slavery, she becomes a beacon for the British anti-slavery movement.
Mary Prince was an auto-biographer and champion of freedom.
Her book had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist movement helping to free many Africans in bondage.
Mary was born into enslavement on the British owned Island of Bermuda 1788 (?).
As with many enslaved people exact records of births and deaths can be difficult to come by and Mary's birth year is an estimation.
She was the daughter of a House slave Sue and a Sawyer nothing unusual there but through Mary's narrative we are given rare insights into her life as an enslaved person.
We learn of moments of love, conflict and some of the intricacies of chattel slavery that are seldom heard.
When Mary's narrative was 1st published in 1831 it was the harsh realities the brutality of enslavement the treatment and dehumanisation of enslaved people that shocked readers.
Also it was the fact of a woman speaking of flogging, of work that wasn't just back breaking but life taking.
She shares with us her words and thoughts of how it felt to be enslaved, owned bought and sold.
Mary's story gives us the voice of the 'chattel' those voices that are often silent, silenced, ignored or spoken for.
Many who read her book could now picture enslaved people more fully as people with feelings, hopes and dreams.
It also again highlighted Britain's role in enslavement.
Often today many of us think of slavery as an American experience, hearing stories of the deep south, and forget that Britain played a major role.
Mary's words help to remind us.
Told through theatre, song, drumming and dance, this masterpiece of Black British theatre is inspired by the storytelling traditions of the West African Griot/ Jeli.
Social media & info
London SE1 7NN
Performance days & times
Tuesday ‑ 7‑20pm
Wednesday ‑ 7‑20pm
Thursday ‑ 7‑20pm
Friday ‑ 7‑20pm
Saturday ‑ 7‑20pm
Sunday ‑ 7‑20pm
Production: Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective Co-Production