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The Meaning of Zong

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A Bristol Old Vic production in Association with The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh

THE MEANING OF ZONG
By Giles Terera
Directed by Tom Morris & Giles Terera

Dream the impossible: a story of one man's belief in the value of humanity, and his fight to defend it. 

Two hundred years ago, Olaudah Equiano read the harrowing reports of a massacre aboard the slave ship Zong, where 132 Africans were thrown overboard. Joining forces with anti-slavery campaigner Granville Sharp to publicly condemn these actions, he helped set in motion events which led to the abolition movement in the UK.

But Olaudah’s mission goes beyond the courtroom. Having bought his own freedom, he now faces a personal battle to rediscover his past and accept his true self. 

Based on true historical events, Giles Terera’s boldly inventive debut play The Meaning of Zong is a story of our time, celebrating the power of the human spirit against adversity, and the journey of our past to understand our place in the world. Performed by an ensemble cast, joined on stage by Composer and Musical Director Sidiki Dembele, it serves as inspiration for how individual and collective action can drive unimaginable change. 

Giles Terera is an acclaimed actor, musician and filmmaker, who starred as Aaron Burr in the UK production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton – The Musical, for which he won the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Some of the topics covered in The Meaning of Zong might be distressing for some audiences. This play contains themes about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, historically accurate racial language and occasional scenes of characters in distress - alongside the theme of human resource and triumph. Please ensure you have made those in your care aware of the challenging themes before attending.

Supported by the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation, The Mackintosh Foundation and donations toward The Peter O'Toole Prize.

#TheMeaningOfZong

Cast and Credits

CAST
(in alphabetical order)

Onstage Musical Director  Sidiki Dembele
Ottobah Cugoano  Michael Elcock
Granville Sharp  Paul Higgins
Sir John Lee / Robert Stubbs / William Woodfall  Simon Holland-Roberts
Arthur Pigott / Kelsall  Remi King
Ama / Gloria  Kiera Lester
Joyi / Lord Mansfield  Bethan Mary-James
Annie Greenwood / Elijah Brown  Eliza Smith
Olaudah Equiano  Giles Terera
Riba  Alice Vilanculo
 

CREATIVE TEAM 

​Writer & Director Giles Terera
Co-Director Tom Morris
Set & Costume Designer Jean Chan
Composer & Musical Director Sidiki Dembele
Sound Designer & Co-Composer Dave Price 
Lighting Designer Zeynep Kepekli
Video Designer Tom Newell of Limbic Cinema with Will Duke
Movement Director Ingrid Mackinnon
Assistant Director Nadia Williams
Costume Supervisor Rhianne Good
Dramatherapist Samantha Adams
Beatbox & Loop coach Conrad Murray
Fight Director Kate Waters
Associate Directors Julia Head & Claire O'Reilly
Production Manager Ed Wilson
Company Stage Manager Emily Walpole
Production Photographer Curtis Richard


 

Video

Giles Terera and cast introduce The Meaning of Zong

Dates, Times & Prices

13 – 23 April 2022

 

Thanks to support from The National Lottery, we are proud to introduce our Love Your Local Theatre Campaign.
So, when buying your ticket for The Meaning of Zong, you get another ticket completely free, courtesy of the National Lottery.
Simply input the promotional code LYLT241 when making your purchase onlne, or quote the code at box office to activate this offer.
Find out more  

 

Pay What You Can Preview7.30pm
Wednesday 13 April
Preview tickets on sale from Mon 14 March

EVENINGS7.30pm
Monday - Saturday
£16 - £33

MATINEES2.30pm
Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday
£14 - £29

SOCIALLY DISTANCED PERFORMANCES
Tuesday 19 April, 2.30pm and 7.30pm performances

Running time: to be confirmed during rehearsals

Accessibility

AUDIO DESCRIBED
Thursday 21 April, 7.30pm
Touch Tour at 6.15pm

CAPTIONED & AUDIO DESCRIBED
Saturday 23 April, 2.30pm
Touch Tour at 1.15pm

BSL INTERPRETED
Wednesday 20 April, 7.30pm

Read The Lyceum's Access Statement here

Take Part

WHY NOT TRY...
Free events tailored to the show

Post-Show Discussion
Wednesday 20th April
Join members of the cast and creative team for an informal discussion about the show after the evening performance.