The African Company Presents Richard III


Writers: Carlyle Brown


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Drama, Historical/Biographical
Period, Simple/No Set
Time & Place
New York City, 1821
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Diverse Cast, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Small Cast, Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, mature adult, elderly characters


New York City, 1821. 40 years before the Civil War, William Henry Brown, a free black American, organizes a production of Shakespeare’s Richard III for a predominantly black audience. But in doing so, Brown challenges the leading producer of New York City, Stephen Price, who has secured the famous English actor Junius Brutus Booth to play Richard III at his Park Theatre. As Brown fights for the right of his company to present Shakespeare, his African Grove Theatre Company fights within their ranks, questioning the appropriation of English drama for African-American actors and the racial implications of such a move. Based on the true story of the first African-American theatre company, Carlyle Brown’s The African Company Presents Richard III carries a timeless message of negotiating racial consciousness in theatre that still resonates for actors and audiences today.

Lead Characters

The African Company Presents Richard III guide sections