‘This story showed me who I am and what I must do.’
Over two hundred years ago, Olaudah Equiano changed the world. After reading reports of the British ship Zong, where 132 enslaved Africans were thrown overboard, he joins forces with anti-slavery campaigner Granville Sharp and together they set in motion events which will go on to galvanise the abolition movement.
But Olaudah’s impassioned fight for justice goes beyond the courtroom. Having bought his own freedom, he now faces a personal battle to rediscover his past and accept his true self.
Weaving together the many lives affected by these events across the globe, The Meaning of Zong is both a depiction of a shameful true story from British history, and a timely response to the social upheaval the world has witnessed in recent years – celebrating the power of individual action to drive huge societal change.
Giles Terera’s debut play was commissioned by Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre, and first performed on stage at Bristol Old Vic in April 2022, co-directed by Tom Morris and Terera, after an acclaimed production on BBC Radio 3.
‘Giles Terera’s lyrical and inventive drama about a brutal episode in British history brims with urgency, pain and ultimately pride… triumphant… profoundly moving’
‘Brilliant… sparkles with ingenuity’
— The Stage
‘Throbs with passion and urgency… an important night of theatre’
‘Dense, affecting and powerful’
— The Times
‘Superbly moving and hugely ambitious… gifted storytelling… a tremendous accomplishment’
— British Theatre Guide
‘Shatters the frosted perceptions audiences have surrounding slavery… masterfully adept stagecraft and storytelling… A resonating achievement, poignant and glistening with brilliance’
— Reviews Hub