Last Thursday, the English department took the Fifth Form to see The Empress, a new play by Tanika Gupta. Students are studying the play for their GCSE English Literature exam so the opportunity to see it live in performance was too good to miss.
The play tells the story of Rani, a sixteen year old ayah from India who travels to London in 1887 with her employers family, only to be abandoned at Tilbury docks and left to fend for herself. The play is inspired by The Ayahs’ Home in Hackney, which housed women who served British families in Asia as children’s nannies, nursemaids and ladies’ maids. The play spans 13 years of British Empire and follows the lives of Indian ayahs and lascars, as well as historical and political figures such as Dadabhai Naoroji (the first British Indian MP), Gandhi, Jinnah and of course “The Empress” herself, Queen Victoria.
It was an excellent production and an experience that will surely be of invaluable use to the Fifth Form when it comes to revising for their GCSE next year.