Incidents in the Life of an Anglican Slave

Theatre (historical, storytelling)

  • Accessibility:
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


It’s 1723 and writing while Black could get a girl hanged in Virginia. But the Archbishop of Canterbury lives a very long way away, at Lambeth Palace. Could his Lordship be the man to free the British Empire’s enslaved? And is it worth the risk, dropping him a line? Enjoy epic storytelling in this riveting one-woman play about the anonymous enslaved Virginian who dared, during the transatlantic slavery era, to pen a freedom plea to the head of the Anglican Church. (So... how does she end up in Barbados?)

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General venue access

  • Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
  • Accessible entry: Audience enters from George IV Bridge, with a couple of steps from the street into the building. A temporary ramp is available when required. The Sanctuary has level access from front of house. The audience enter down the side of a raked seating rig, with one row of seats on the floor and several further rows accessed via steps on a central aisle.
  • Wheelchair access type: Temporary Ramp, Level Access

  • Stairs: 2 - 5
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Sally Allen 105 days ago

Beautifully told, and clearly impeccably researched, this is a thought provoking show that I’d recommend to anyone.

GrainneR 106 days ago

A brilliant performance by Desiree Baptiste, truly excellent virtuosity. This is a fascinating and disturbing true story that needs to be heard. Bravo

Alison Girdwood 108 days ago

As others have said, an excellent poetic dramatisation, based on true events, that pulls you into the reality and cruelty of slavery in both Virginia and Barbados, and highlights the relationship of historical slavery to our lives today. It's a little ameliorated with humorous references to the contortions in the language we use today. Throughout, the importance of the written word is highlighted, and the power that literacy confers. Powerfully acted. Highly recommended.

Sue Kinn 111 days ago

This was a fantastic show. The story has you hooked from the beginning, a fictionalised account of the life of a real slave who courageously wrote to the Archbishop of Lindon in 1723. The real letter is in Lambeth Palace. The story, told in rhyme, is riveting and highlights the horrors of slavery on one woman and how it pervades all of our pasts. The writer actually performs the play, and it is a tour de force. The story, and the writer/performer, Desiree, need to be better known. A real highlight of this year's fringe.

Ruth 112 days ago

An incredibly thought provoking, incisive, historical perspective behind a 300y old letter delivered by an enthusiastic single female research historian storyteller.

It is non- linear narrative with storytelling at its best, as the narrator, with minimal props, takes her audience on a journey through the life, trials and tribulations of an American slave girl, tentatively connecting her heritage to both Scotland and the monarchy in the finale.

She keeps her audience gripped with anticipation, yet warmed by the small personal triumphs in the life of this self-educated Mulatto female slave, as she faces various forms of oppression and tragedy, while navigating her way in a society whose ruling class recognised and feared the power of education and the pen in slave hands.

An entertaining, clever, historically educational, thought-provoking story, told with clarity, passion, aplomb and sensitivity, that triggers a plethora of questions, ripely appropriate for current times when tacit compliance / involvement of the State, the Monarchy, the Church, and issues of acknowledgement, cover-up, apology and reparation loom large and provoke debate. A MUST see!….

(Citizen of the World & Member of the Colonial Diaspora)

Alistair Williams 112 days ago

From the very start of this one-woman play, you’re gripped by compelling story of an unnamed slave-woman’s experiences in colonial Virginia and then Barbados in the 1700’s. The story of the play is based on a real letter written to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the protagonist, at great personal risk. The performance by Desiree Baptiste is a tour de force, flawlessly delivered with passion and verve; I was riveted for the full hour. It’s clearly a very well-researched story, and one that will stay with me long after the performance. Highly recommended for those with an interest in the history of our colonial past.

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