The Black Jacobins
Written by CLR James
Directed by Yvonne Brewster
21 February to 15 March 1986
The Black Jacobins, written by C L R James in 1967, dramatises the events of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804).
The Black Jacobins, written by C L R James in 1967, dramatises the events of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) led by François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture.
"That year , when the abolition of the Greater London Council (GLC) by Margaret Thatcher’s government was a certainty, I received a phone call suggesting I submit, virtually immediately, a fully costed proposal for a theatrical production. I was told that there might be funding available for the staging of something ‘impressive’ from the black community. Having been convinced that this proposal was not a hoax, there was no difficulty identifying the The Black Jacobins: Toussaint Louverture and the San Domingo Revolution as the ultimate choice.
My preliminary blue-sky budget for this production – which would require a minimum of 23 actors, a first-rate set design, lighting, sound and costume designers, excellent stage managers, innumerable 18th-century military costumes, a full six weeks rehearsal in decent rehearsal rooms and the rental of a splendid venue – topped the £80,000 mark.
Even today, this is an enormous sum for an independent black production in England: an impossible dream.
The money was, surprisingly, granted in full with no quibbles.
Quickly, I had to form a theatre company. With Mona Hammond, Inigo Espegel and Carmen Munroe,
Talawa Theatre Company was born."
“I was determined to produce it. After all, this was about the ‘energy of a people trying to be born’, as we as Caribbean citizens abroad appreciate only too well … I wondered about it as a clarion call for people no longer inclined to revolution.”