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Phillis in London

March 2021

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Watch an excerpt from a new play Phillis in London, by award-winning British-Nigerian playwright, Ade Solanke.

British-Nigerian playwright and screenwriter Solanke is best known for her debut stage play, Pandora’s Box, which was produced at the Arcola Theatre in 2012, and was nominated as Best New Play in the Off West End Theatre Awards.

This piece is based on a visit made by the young poet Phillis Wheatley to the Painted Hall in 1773. A teenage prodigy, Wheatley came to London to publish her first collection of poems, although still enslaved. She was the first African American poet – and second American female poet – to have her work published in English.

As a live performance at the Old Royal Naval College won’t be possible this March, a short film has been created to give a taster of the play. This film was recorded in the atmospheric Painted Hall, in the exact place Phillis herself visited over 200 years ago.

This short film is part of an events programme associated with the Old Royal Naval College’s Black Greenwich Pensioners exhibition, and will be launched on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021.

See more from Ade Solanke at SporaStories

Funded by the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. The Culture Recovery Fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England, using funds provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.