Slavery campaigner remembered in play

A PLAY marking the 200 year anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade will be performed next month in Playford - the Suffolk home of campaigner Thomas Clarkson.

A PLAY marking the 200 year anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade will be performed next month in Playford - the Suffolk home of campaigner Thomas Clarkson.

Written by Felixstowe-based playwright Suzanne Hawkes the play, entitled Breaking the Chain, charts the story of Olaudah Equiano's journey from slavery to abolition campaigner in parallel with Thomas Clarkson's own fight against economic and parliamentary opposition to bring to public notice the horrors of the trade.

Ms Hawkes, of Orwell Road, Felixstowe, said: “Equiano was a black slave who bought his freedom in America and came to England where he worked his way up through society.

“He wrote a definitive account of his time as a slave and toured the country with it and worked with the abolitionists like Clarkson.”


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Ms Hawkes said she became gripped by the subject as she researched the issue.

She added: “The last play I wrote snow and sweet potatoes I spoke to elders in the Afro-Caribbean community who tole me their surnames came from slave masters.

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“I found this fascinating and as I found out more about the issue It's a great story with local links and I felt I wanted to write the play.”

The premiere performance will be on Friday November 9 at 7.30 pm in the village hall at Playford, the village where Thomas Clarkson lived for the last 30 years of his life and where he is buried.

The play is performed by Michael Clarke as Equiano and Paul Pascall as Clarkson, supported by Thomas Haigh, Lauren Morris, Alan Dix, and Suzanne Hawkes

Other performances take place at Trimley St Martin Memorial Hall from November 10 to 11 and at St Nicholas Centre, Ipswich from November 15 to 17.

Tickets are £7, £5 concessions and are available on 01394 279613 or from the Wharf in Ipswich and Felixstowe.

What does the battle against slavery mean to you? Will you be seeing this play? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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