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.
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