In partnership with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Creative Estuary Co-commissions is supporting the development stage of two Black Essex Commissions, Mia Jerome’s ‘Rice and Peas’ and Anne Odeke’s ‘Princess Essex’. This commission opportunity is providing the two theatre-makers with specific support:
Mia Jerome will continue the R+D phase of her new piece ‘Rice and Peas’, staging the full production for the first time, testing how the immersive dining experience will work logistically with a range of public audiences and securing future partners.
Anne Odeke will use the feedback from initial ‘Princess Essex’ performances to rewrite the piece in response, shaping the work for a community tour and a future life. Anne will play South Essex community venues, building on the legacy of 2021’s ‘Tales from the Thames’, and helping to establish that new touring network for a range of audiences too.
Rice & Peas
In 2021, Mia Jerome founded Blouse & Skirt! Theatre Company to celebrate stories, songs, performers and puppets from the African-Caribbean diaspora. The first major production for Blouse & Skirt! is Rice & Peas – a three course, three act immersive dining experience inspired by Mia’s family history.
Grenada, 1948. Figgy & Edith enjoy a meal together the evening before Figgy boards The Empire Windrush to set sail for England, both of them blissfully unaware that they will not see each other again for two years. When Edith arrives in London, 1950, Figgy has been slaving away to prepare a special meal for them, but within her, Edith carries an explosive secret that threatens to tear apart their dreams of the Motherland.
With a menu designed by Executive Chef, Jon Bentham, (previously head chef for Gary Rhodes, and the man Tom Kerridge credits with teaching him how to cook) Rice & Peas allows audiences to share three delicious West Indian courses with this couple over the course of their life, and in doing so discover the heartache and courage it took so many to start a new life in Great Britain.
Connect with Blouse & Skirt
Anne Odeke is an Essex based actor and writer.
It’s 1908 and we’re in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Tired of feeling invisible, Joanna decides to take matters into her own hands, and enter herself into one of the country’s most prestigious beauty pageants disguised as a Senegalese princess.
Based on the little-known, true story of Princess Dinubolu, ‘Princess Essex’ is the funny and dynamic tale of the first black woman to ever enter a beauty pageant in the UK.
The play, which will be brought to audiences around Essex where accessibility to theatre can be difficult, will ask them to question why so much of black Essex history has been hidden despite the first black person in the county being recorded in 1580. It will ask them to consider who the gate keepers of history are, and what it means to be a ‘black Essex girl’.
Connect with Queen’s Theatre
Connect with Anne Odeke