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The Empress

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It is 1887, the year Queen Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee.

Sixteen year old Rani Das, ayah (nursemaid) to an English family arrives at Tilbury docks after a long voyage from India, to start a new life in Britain.

This pack supports the RSC’s 2023 production of Tanika Gupta's The Empress, directed by Pooja Ghai. The activities provided in this pack are specifically designed to support KS3-4 students attending the performance and studying The Empress in school, but all activities can be adapted for learners of different ages and abilities. The pack incorporates approaches directly from our rehearsal rooms to provide teachers and their students with the tools to explore key knowledge for the text in relation to GCSE English and Drama.


Abdul Karim – Raj Bajaj
Charlotte / Georgina – Miriam Grace Edwards
Lady Sarah – Francesca Faridany
Queen Victoria – Alexandra Gilbreath
Hari – Aaron Gill
Serang / Lascar – Anyebe Godwin
Lord John Oakham / William / Painter – Oliver Hembrough
Firoza – Avita Jay
Rani Das – Tanya Katyal
Freddie / Ensemble – Tom Milligan
Mary / Susan Matthews – Sarah Moyle
Jinnah / Singh – Chris Nayak
Ruby / Asha – Lauren Patel
Dadabhai Naoroji – Simon Rivers
Gandhi / Lascar – Anish Roy
Lascar Sally – Nicola Stephenson
Lascar / Ayah – Premi Tamang
Lascar – Joe Usher

Creative and production team

Writer – Tanika Gupta
Director – Pooja Ghai
Designer – Rosa Maggiora
Lighting – Matt Haskins
Music and Sound – Ben and Max Ringham
Movement – Wayne Parsons
Dramaturg – Pippa Hill
Fights and Intimacy – Rachel Brown Williams & Ruth Cooper-Brown
Voice and Dialect – Gurkiran Kaur
Dramatherapist – Wabriya King
Assistant Director – Layla Madanat
Casting Directors – Matthew Dewsbury CDG and Martin Poile

A Royal Shakespeare Company production, presented by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.