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Tanika Gupta’s The Empress cast and dates at Swan Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Here’s all about the Royal Shakespeare Company’s revival of Tanika Gupta’s The Empress.

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The Empress will run in the Swan Theatre from 7 July – 15 September before transferring to the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in London from 4 – 28 October.

The production will then return to the Swan Theatre from 1 – 18 November.

The Empress cast.
The Empress cast. Photo by Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

Who’s on the cast?

Making her RSC debut, Tanya Katyal will play Rani Das, Raj Bajaj will play Abdul Karim and Helen Schlesinger will play Queen Victoria.

Completing the company are: Francesca Faridany (Lady Sarah), Aaron Gill (Hari), Anyebe Godwin (Serang/Lascar), Miriam Grace Edwards (Charlotte/Georgina), Oliver Hembrough (Sir John Oakham/William), Avita Jay (Firoza), Tom Milligan (Freddie), Sarah Moyle (Mary/Susan Matthews), Chris Nayak (Jinnah/Singh), Lauren Patel (Ruby/Asha), Simon Rivers (Dadabhai Naoroji), Anish Roy (Gandhi/Lascar), Nicola Stephenson (Lascar Sally), Premi Tamang (Lascar/Ayah) and Joe Usher (Lascar).

Set in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, the play tells the story of the sixteen-year-old Rani Das, ayah (nursemaid) to an English family, who arrives at Tilbury docks after a long voyage from India, to start a new life in Britain. On the boat, Rani befriends a lascar (sailor), an Indian politician and a royal servant destined to serve the Queen. Full of hopes and dreams of what lies ahead, they each embark on an extraordinary journey.

Spanning a period of 13 years over the ‘Golden Era’ of Empire, this epic drama takes audiences from the rugged gangways of Tilbury docks to the grandeur of Queen Victoria’s Palace, whilst unveiling the long and embedded culture of British Asian history which continues to shape our society today.

The production is directed by Pooja Ghai with Design by Rosa Maggiora. Lighting is by Matt Haskins, Music and Sound by Ben and Max Ringham, Movement by Wayne Parsons, and Casting by Matthew Dewsbury CDG and Martin Poile.

For more information and tickets, visit rsc.org.uk

The Empress first premiered in the Swan Theatre in 2013 and was directed by Emma Rice.

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.