Slavery at the height of the slave trade

One woman’s first-hand account of a forgotten story

AS PART of The VAULT Festival 2020 Edinburgh 2019 Fringe Winners Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective presents SOLD – a historic piece of theatre that dramatises the first account of female enslavement in the British West Indies.

A lot of people have slavery down as an American experience, often hearing stories of the deep south, and forget that Britain played a major role.

SOLD uses the words and experiences of Mary Prince who was born into slavery in the British West Indies and worked tirelessly there before being taken in her last years to the UK. Her story, originally published by the anti-slavery movement of the 1800s, was popular in its day, contributing enormously to the ending of slavery, but has long been forgotten and is rarely referenced or known.

Amantha Edmead, who wrote the show and plays Mary says: “Mary’s story is one of the unassuming heroine. Her strength and resilience to stay alive through the horrors of British chattel slavery, to fall in love, work for her freedom and share her story to help bring slavery to an end, was a huge achievement for an enslaved West Indian woman in 1831. I feel humbled to tell her story.”

Mary’s narrative describes some of the harsh realities of enslavement, from her childhood days as a passive survivor, and later  when trying to gain  her freedom  and change the system that kept her enslaved.

Edmead was inspired to create the piece after being encouraged to audition for a part in a production about slavery where none of the enslaved characters spoke about their experiences – the action and voices coming from the European characters and their perspectives.

She was compelled to show the historic  truth using the real  and published  words of Mary Prince, an actual victim of the British Slave Trade.


January 28 – February 2 – at 7.20pm; Matinee Feb 2, 4.30pm

Venue: Studio. The Vaults, Leake St, Lambeth, SE1 7NN

Tickets: £10- 11 full price, £8.50 concessions


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