A ROYAL Shakespeare Company (RSC) production, which places Britain’s slave-owning past in the spotlight, is available to listen online.
Not only is Juliet Gilkes Romero’s The Whip free to listen to on YouTube, the RSC is hosting a listen-along event, on Thursday February 11, marking one year since the production’s original press night at the Swan Theatre. Audiences are invited to listen to the play on YouTube while interacting with members of the production’s creative team on Twitter.
The original RSC stage production ended unexpectedly in March owing to the pandemic and the temporary closure of the Royal Shakespeare Company stages.
The Whip explores the human cost of the multi-billion slavery compensation bill, awarded to former slave owners for the loss of their ‘property’ following the abolition of the slave trade in 1833.
The audio recording is commissioned by the RSC, and directed by Kimberley Sykes, director of the original stage production. It features the original cast, who recorded their parts at home, using whatever devices they could.
Kimberley Sykes said: “In March 2020 The Whip was brought to an early close as covid-19 shut down UK theatres. As the events of 2020 began to unfold, we became even more aware of the power of this play and the appetite and need for it to be told urgently. And so in their rooms, using whatever devices they could get their hands on, the company created this audio recording to share with everyone. We added production images and original music and sound from the show to guide you through the story and immerse you in the world of the play.
“The ritual of going to the theatre is a thrilling and exciting experience. We can’t bring you back in yet, but you can find a quiet room, turn off your phones, turn the lights down and let us take you to another time and place that tells us a lot about our own.”
The audio recording of The Whip includes sound design by Claire Windsor with music by Akintayo Akinbode.
It will be available to access online via the RSC’s official YouTube channel until March 16.