Out of the Margins

15 SEPTEMBER 2023 - 06 OCTOBER 2023
The Empress 3. Headshot 2. Annotations 1. Cover
The Empress
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28. Tanika Gupta

The Empress

The Empress 
Signed and annotated 
RSC First edition paperback 
19.7 x 12.9 cm 
London: Methuen, 2023 

Includes also two photographs: one of the inspiration for the play; and the other a picture of the stage at the most recent RSC production in Stratford-upon-Avon.

ESTIMATE


£1,000 - 10,000

This auction has now ended

Out of the Margins (28/55)

Notes


“First commissioned by RSC when I challenged Michael Boyd at a conference somewhere. I said on stage, “I want to write a costume drama set in 19th century Britain with Asians running around in it”. He said: “Go on then.” And to my utter surprise, he commissioned me. Around 2008/9.” 

So opens Tanika Gupta’s heavily annotated edition of The Empress, rewritten for 2023 (“More political I think”), filled energetically with scribblings, reflections, the generous marginalia of someone thinking deeply about their work and its place in the world. 

Dialogue is often the form this playwright reverts to in her own annotations: "How many actors can I have?” Response from RSC. “As many as you want.” 

“Learnt at school in History class that Victoria was ‘The Empress of India’. Asked my dad about it - he said: ‘She was the Empress of Famine.’” 

“Love this quote from the wonderful artists, The Singh Twins: ‘Not telling our own stories is like walking in the sand and leaving no footprints. We have no way of knowing where we came from or how we reached today, whilst others are free to leave their imprint on our path.’ (2019) I wanted to show British Asians history living in UK.” 

We love this annotated edition of The Empress. It’s an important play, that will take you from the rugged gangways of Tilbury docks to the grandeur of Queen Victoria’s Palace, whilst unveiling the long and embedded culture of British Asian history. This beautifully scribbled-on edition is a significant contribution to its understanding. 

"Representation is at the heart of my play as it tackles themes of migration and belonging. The Empress looks deeply into the lasting legacies of the British Empire and the divisions between the rich and the poor" Tanika Gupta said in Broadway World. "It makes a statement about how the British empire affected Indians in this country" – Tanika Gupta in the Eastern Eye 

The Empress returns to the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 7th July - 15th September 2023, and transfers to the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London 4 – 28th October 2023. The production will return to the Swan Theatre to complete its run from 1 – 18th November 2023.

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