The Gift

The Gift

★★★★★ “One of the most explosive British plays on race I’ve seen in years” Afridiziak
★★★★ "Excruciatingly funny... a bold exploration of black Britishness" Metro
★★★★ "An important production... a must-see piece of theatre." BroadwayWorldUK
"Bold, provocative and agonisingly funny." The Times
"Clever and complex vision of black Britons, then and now​. Full of sharp, stinging dialogue... filled to the brim with great writing." The Guardian
"A deft portrayal of prejudice... adept direction and fine performances" The Observer
"Hilarious and destabilising... Dawn Walton’s production embraces levels, layers and structures that go beyond words." Exeunt Magazine

A subversive comedy drama about imperialism, cross-racial adoption, cultural appropriation... and tea.

Brighton, 1862. A day in the life of Sarah, an African girl, adopted by Queen Victoria and raised in the Queen’s circles. Today is the eve of her having to return to Africa but will she go?  

The Present. A day in the life of Sarah, a black middle-class woman staying in a Cheshire village with her husband and small child. They are paid a visit by well-meaning neighbours who have something to confess…  

The two Sarahs meet Queen Victoria for tea. This won’t be your regular tea party…

Written by Bruntwood Prize-winning playwright Janice Okoh and directed by Dawn Walton, The Gift is the fourth national tour born from Revolution Mix – an Eclipse Theatre movement, spearheading the largest ever delivery of new Black British stories.

Past stories from Revolution Mix include the sell-out production of Black Men Walking (nominated for UK Theatre Awards’ ‘Best New Play’ and Writer’s Guild Awards’ ‘Best Play’) and 2019’s highly acclaimed Princess & The Hustler.

 Praise for previous Revolution Mix stories:

"An important, political, poignant work that dismantles stereotypes"

The Stage, on Black Men Walking
"A crucial slice of black British history"

The Guardian, on Princess & The Hustler
"Richly textured, passionate and enormously affecting. Beautiful.”

The Times, on Princess & The Hustler

Presented by Eclipse Theatre and Belgrade Theatre Coventry

Booking Enquiries
Our online booking system does not allow customers to leave isolated seats. We do this in order to prevent gaps in the auditorium.

For some shows the boxes might have a slightly restricted view. Seats marked with an ‘i’ indicate a restricted view.

If you have any booking enquiries then please do not hesitate to speak to our Box Office team on 020 8534 0310.

Our ticket prices increase as the theatre fills. We always recommend booking early to secure the best seats at the best price.

Photos: Ellie Kurttz

More Information

Runtime: 2 hrs 25 mins (including interval)
Age Guidance: 15+ (contains nudity and strong language - see Content Advisory Notes). This production uses smoke and haze.
Concessions available for under 26s. Click here for details about companion/carer tickets.

Access performances: 
Relaxed Performance - Thu 13 Feb, 2.30pm (what's this?)
BSL Performance - Thu 13 Feb, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance - Fri 14 Feb, 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance - Sat 15 Feb, 2.30pm (touch tour, 1.30pm)

Neighbours' Night - Mon 03 Feb (what's this?)
UNO Night - Thu 30 Jan (what's this?)

Post-show Talks with the cast (free)
Thu 06 Feb
Thu 13 Feb (evening show)

Monthly Masterclasses
Writing workshop with Janice Okoh, Sat 08 Feb

Cast and Creative

Donna Berlin
 Aggie / Sarah
Joanna Brookes Harriet Waller / Queen Victoria
Rebecca Charles Mrs Schoen / Harriet
Dave Fishley James Davies 
Shannon Hayes Sarah Bonetta Davies
Richard Teverson Reverend Venn

Writer - Janice Okoh
Director - Dawn Walton
Designer - Simon Kenny
Movement Director & Associate Director - Vicki Igbokwe
Lighting Designer - Johanna Town
Composer and Sound Designer - Adrienne Quartly
Casting Director - Briony Barnett
Dramaturg - Ola Animashawun
Dialect and Voice - Hazel Holder

Janice Okoh - Writer
Janice Okoh is an established radio dramatist and has written numerous plays including adaptations of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. For television, she has written for BBC’s Doctors and recently participated in 4Stories, Channel 4’s initiative for emerging talent.

Janice is also an award-winning playwright. She won a Channel 4 playwriting bursary for her first play, Egusi Soup, and her second play, Three Birds, was the winner of the 2011 Bruntwood Prize, the UK’s biggest national competition for new writing. It was also shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award for best first-time and emerging UK playwrights and the Alfred Fagon Award which recognises and promotes plays by British writers of Caribbean and African descent. Three Birds was produced in 2013 at The Bush Theatre.

Janice is currently writing an episode of Hetty Feather for CBBC, adapting Maya Angelou’s biography The Heart of A Woman for BBC Radio 4, writing plays for Menagerie Theatre and Eclipse Theatre and has two feature films in development.

Dawn Walton - Director
Dawn is the founding Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company, where she has initiated a number of innovative movements in including Revolution Mix and Slate – an artists development programme for Black artists across the North of England.

Theatre credits include: For Eclipse Theatre – Princess & The Hustler, Black Men Walking (shortlisted for the UK Theatre ‘Best New Play’ and nominated for Writer’s Guild Best Play 2019); A Raisin in the Sun (UK Theatre Best Touring Production nomination); One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show; The Hounding of David Oluwale (TMA: Best Director nomination) // For Royal Court Theatre - Oxford Street (Olivier Awards Nomination); 93.2fm // For Young Vic Theatre - Winners; The Blacks // For Sheffield Theatres - There’s Only One Wayne Matthews // Also - Lyrikal Fearta (Sadlers Wells) and Urban Legend (Liverpool Everyman).

Radio: The Last Flag (BBC Radio 4 – Radio Drama of the Week).

Film: For Eclipse has recently directed Samuel’s Trousers as part of Revolution Mix and previously directed and produced 10by10 a series of 10 short film dramas now a featured collection on Digital Theatre Plus.

Other recent productions include: salt. (Selina Thompson Ltd) - winner of: The Stage Edinburgh Award; The Total Theatre Award for Experimentation, Innovation and Playing with Form; The Filipa Brangaca Award for Best Female Solo Performance.


Stratford East Podcast - Episode 12

Two Sarahs - Donna Berlin and Shannon Hayes star in The Gift - listen here.



Audiences react to THE GIFT

Watch the video

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