Destinations Magazine

It's Showtime... She's Royal: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Back at the theatre, this time it was a family affair with my a familiar face part of the cast! 'She's Royal' followed an untold story, rising from 'Blackstory Partnerhsip' with an all female cast. The story of two Royal female subjects would be told, they were in fact god-daughters of Queen Victoria. We were schooled about the lives of 'Sara Forbes Bonetta' and 'Sophia Duleep Singh'. 

It's Showtime... She's Royal: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!

Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre wanted to show me that she's now a diverse hub for theater for all, come on and show me that you're inclusive! I had only recently been to see an amazing show at the Grand Theatre in October 2022, the previous month. That previous curtain call situation wasn't anything to cool down nor simmer! I loved 'Black Is The Colour Of My Voice', that one woman show had me learning more about 'Nina Simone' than her own 'Netflix' show could ever! Not wanting to waste my time, my tickets to 'She's Royal' were booked back in the summer of 2022, no hesitation exercised! Transiting from 'Nina Simone', it was time to learn about two Royal subjects who had so rudely not been included during my school history lessons! Mainstream education needs major reform because even at the age of 31 years old, this revelation could finally be taught by Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre. Be honest, theater shows are much better when we can all come together to learn about strong females of the past! Get it! 

As mentioned previously during this 'It's Showtime...' blog series, the Grand's 'Black African & Caribbean Ambassadors' have forged ahead to bring diverse shows to our Wolverhampton theater with a very much needed injection of culture, history and love. Seeing news bulletins and interviews from my local West Midlands news celebrate this upcoming Royal theater show, well it was amazing to see! Representation matters very much, learning that 'Blackstory Partnership' had an all female cast consisting of mostly Black and South Asian local people was correct to hear! Written by Wolverhampton's own 'Tonia Daley-Campbell', already I knew the script would be a winner with such a professional constructing such important dialog. Directed by Coronation Street actress, 'Lorna Laidlaw', both writing and directing came from a true Black British perspective. Taking time from her Corrie filming schedule, Lorna's skills produced a dynamic and educational show. Curtain up, I wanted to know about the two female bosses, WV! 

It's Showtime... She's Royal: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!

With qualities more than a 'queen', 'Sara Forbes Bonetta' was bestowed to 'HRH Queen Victoria' from an African chief, the former head of the British Empire adopted Sara as her god-daughter. Stepping out from the history museums exhibit, Sara did not carry herself in a shy manner, taking the space that she very much deserved. Dressed in finery according to the British monarchy, Sara Forbes Bonetta revealed her anguish about being removed from her 'Mother Africa'. Educated in 'Sierra Leone', Ms. Forbes Bonetta appreciated the riches of her Empire rich surroundings but somewhere in her heart she longed to be in an environment where her complexion and Blackness would cease to be questioned. Her god-mother made no mistake to pick those differences to Sara throughout the performance, although 'Vicky' did embrace her god-daughter fondly with her fondest feelings scribed in her diary. Sara is so 'Royal' but why didn't I learn about her before the show? Yes, Sara Forbes Bonetta was always a Nubian queen! 

A South Asian Suffragette? Yes! Daughter of the last Maharaja of India? Yes! All 'Sophia Duleep Singh' wanted was a little 'RESPECT!' The British Empire's iron-fist rule in India had engineered the end of India's Maharaja royalty. Sugarcoated with an upbringing in one of London's most regal homes, Sophia proclaimed that she wanted for nothing during her childhood during that rather British upbringing. Another of 'Queen Victoria's' god-daughters, there was a spark that Sophia had ignited, she forged a life that was in the public eye with activism at the core of her life's work. Taking to the streets, an Indian Princess fought alongside the well-known female freedom fighter, 'Emmeline Pankhurst'. Enough about Emmeline, why haven't we been taught about a member of the Suffragette Movement who didn't have Pankhurst's complexion? Rude! After her death, Sophia left her savings to three multi-faith schools and had her ashes scattered in India. Both Sara and Sophia must never be forgotten, they deserve more than their moment! 

It's Showtime... She's Royal: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!

Move over Florence Nightingale! Born in Jamaica of British and Jamaican heritage in 1805, 'Mary Seacole' followed in her mothers footsteps by becoming a Doctor. Travelling to England for the first time at 16 years old did not faze Mary, she found her way just fine. Racism almost blighted her chances to flex her medical muscles in Crimea during the great war. Defying the odds by carving her own path, Mary Seacole opened her own 'British Hotel' with all the money she had. Sorry Florence, we've heard too much already, I'm all about Mary Seacole if you ask my honest opinion! 'Nanny Maroon' took no prisoners, after being ripped away from her homeland of Ghana, Africa. Nanny harnessed her Ashanti tribe magic as she escaped from the British masters after she arrived in Jamaica. Nanny did what she needed to do, freeing African slaves left right and centre! She heroically fought against the British and tirelessly unified Africans, living by their own rules deep within the Jamaican mountain ranges away from the British. Yes!

'Queen Charlotte' hailed from 15 generations who broke the mould, much research was carried out to find a family tree linking Charlotte to Moorish royalty. Long before 'Meghan' married 'Harry', Queen Charlotte became the first bi-racial member of the of the British Royal Family. Noted as the last queen to reign over 'British America' before their revolution, Charlotte remains a city in North Carolina. 'Netflix' series 'Bridgerton' depicts 'Charlotte' ruling with an air of diversity within her dominion. 'Queen Nzinga Ana de Souza Mbande' ruled over the Abundu Kingdoms of Ndongo, which is now modern day Angola. She forged ahead to rid the country and wider kingdoms of the Portuguese as their intentions were not pure, slavery was their game! Queen Nzinga sought to oust the Portuguese with help from the Dutch and fellow tribesmen. Nzinga took her baptised name from 'Ana' who was the Portuguese woman who became her god-mother and 'de Souza' from the acting governor of Angola, 'João Corella de Souza'. She's Royal! 

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