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Foreword by Lolita Chakrabarti Introduction by Professor Ayanna Thompson Play text
Based on the little-known, but true, story of Ira Aldridge, Red Velvet tells of the young black American actor's professional struggle in the face of wide-spread prejudice in London society.
Winner of the 2012 Most Promising Playwright Evening Standard award, Lolita Chakrabarti is a British actress and writer who has worked extensively on stage and screen. Her most recent acting theatre credits include The Great Game, Afghanistan for The Tricycle, Last Seen - Joy for the Almeida, Free Outgoing for the Royal Court and John Gabriel Borkman for the Donmar Warehouse. Her acting screen credits include The Casual Vacancy, Jekyll and Hyde, My Mad Fat Diary season 3, Vera,Outnumbered, Hustle, Extras Christmas Special, Holby City, Silent Witness, Amnesia, William and Mary, Fortysomething, Bodies, and Forgiven. Writing credits include The Goddess for Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4, Faith, Hope and Blue Charity, also on BBC Radio 4 and Last Seen - Joy for Slung Low and the Almeida. In 2012, Red Velvet was the first play performed under the Tricycle's new artistic director Indhu Rubasingham. It returned to the Tricycle in 2014 before having its US premiere at St Ann's Warehouse New York. Lolita Chakrabarti also runs Lesata Productions with Rosa Maggiora. Their short film won Best Short Narrative at PAFF, Los Angeles 2012. They are currently in development with their first feature. www.lesataproductions.co.uk
The story of Aldridge's painful reception is an interesting subject for this first full-length piece by Lolita Chakrabarti . . . and it's powerfully imagined . . . Chakrabarti smartly draws parallels between the world of Shakespeare's Othello, the 1830s and our own society. She writes shrewdly about the theatre's role as an instrument of both social progress and conservatism . . . an arresting and sometimes very funny play. * Evening Standard * Chakrabarti's writing is funny and fierce . . . the issues 'Red Velvet' deals with are far from past tense. * Time Out London *