The Empress- Royal Shakespeare Company

The Empress (Royal Shakespeare Company)

I have just finished working on the 5 star RSC production of ‘The Empress‘ at the stunning Swan theatre in Stratford Upon Avon. ‘The Empress’ is written by the acclaimed playwright Tanika Gupta and directed by the award winning Emma Rice and it has been a true delight working with Tanika Gupta and Emma Rice again following the great success of the Wah! Wah! Girls in 2012.


The play is based on the last 13 or so years of Queen Victoria and her loyal servant Abdul Karim who she lovingly called her Munshi (played by the very talented Tony Jayawardena, who can also be seen in Danny Boyle’s latest film Trance). I played the role of an Ayah and had the most amazing time singing Indian classical & folk songs, ballards and Rani’s theme song as well as dancing in Bharata- Natyam style and playing several parts in the show. It was simply amazing working on this breathtakingly beautiful show!


Here are some more details about ‘The Empress

Uncover the remarkable hidden stories of ayah Rani and servant Abdul Karim as Tanika Gupta’s new play brings Victorian London to life in a way never seen before.

It is Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, 1887. At Tilbury Docks, Rani Das and Abdul Karim step ashore after the long voyage from India. One has to battle a society who deems her a second class citizen, the other forges an astonishing entanglement with the ageing Queen who finds herself enchanted by stories of an India she rules but has never seen.

Blending the true story of Queen Victoria’s relationship with Abdul Karim with the experiences of the Indian ayahs who came to Britain during the nineteenth century, The Empress brings a hidden part of British history gloriously to life.

Emma Rice, Artistic Director of Kneehigh Theatre, directs Tanika Gupta’s new play following their work together on the 2012 production of Tanika’s Wah! Wah! Girls in the West End.

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You can check out some of our rehearsal photos and other info here:

The Empress Trailer