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True story of African girl adopted by Queen Victoria coming to Theatre Royal Stratford East

PUBLISHED: 12:30 04 January 2020

Dave Fishley and Donna Berlin rehearse. Picture: Ellie Kurtz

Dave Fishley and Donna Berlin rehearse. Picture: Ellie Kurtz

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A play based on the true story of an African girl adopted by Queen Victoria is coming to Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Joanna Brooks, Shannon Hayes and Donna Berlin iin rehearsals for The Gift. Picture: Ellie KurtzJoanna Brooks, Shannon Hayes and Donna Berlin iin rehearsals for The Gift. Picture: Ellie Kurtz

Set in both 1862 and the present day, The Gift is partly inspired by Sarah Bonetta Davies, a young African girl adopted by the monarch and raised in royal circles.

Her story is set against that of a second Sarah, a modern-day, black, middle class woman. The two Sarahs' timelines are brought together when they meet Queen Victoria for tea.

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The Gift was written by Janice Okoh, winner of the Channel 4 playwriting award in 2017.

Janice said: "I first heard the story of Sarah Bonetta Davies when I was at primary school, but for many years I wasn't sure if it was true or not.

"As part of my research, I read personal diaries and journals kept by Queen Victoria and got a real insight into their incredible relationship."

At Theatre Royal Stratford East from January 29 to February 15.

Tickets from £10-£30. Call the box office on 020 8534 0310.

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