Community tour for Princess Essex production

Mick Ferris
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Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has announced that Princess Essex will be going on tour to community venues and audiences can see it for free.

Based on the little-known, true story of Princess Dinubolu, Princess Essex is the funny and dynamic tale of the first black woman to ever enter a beauty pageant in the UK.

Building on the success of last year’s community tour of Tales From The Thames, Princess Essex will also tour to venues in Grays, Aveley, Basildon, Pitsea and West Tilbury.

The production is part of Creative Estuary Co-commissions – the initiative which aims to showcase 60 miles of the North Kent and South Essex region as one of the UK’s most dynamic and creative areas in the whole of the UK – working on this occasion with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

Princess Essex is written and performed by Anne Odeke. As a writer, Anne has recently represented Essex in Radio 4’s latest series United Kingdoms. She has also been commissioned by Storyhouse theatre in Chester, to write an adaptation of Little Women set in World War One which will play this coming summer. As a performer, Anne has recently worked with the RSC, as well as Shakespeare’s Globe, the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Birmingham Rep & the Royal Lyceum.

Southend, 1908. Tired of life, black Essex girl Joanna, decides to take matters into her own hands and enter herself into one of the country’s most prestigious beauty pageants, disguised as a Senegalese Princess.

A true story, that not only asks us to question the misconception of the Essex girl, but invites audience members to consider who are the gate keepers of history and why have so many incredible black stories been hidden.

Princess Essex will first open at The Mercury Theatre Colchester before it then tours South Essex from February 26 to March 11. The venues and locations have been chosen as places where local people rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to see live theatre performed.

Princess Essex will play at the Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch on February 27. Tickets for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch event cost £10 and the March events will be free (ticket still required).

To book, call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or book online at

  • The Balmoral Community Centre, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 7AU. Saturday February 26, 7.30pm. Tickets: £10 (+65p QNext fee)
  • Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, RM11 1QT. Sunday February 27, 7.30pm. Tickets: £10 (+65p QNext fee)
  • Tyrells Hall Working Men’s Club, Grays, RM17 6EY. Tuesday March 1, 7.30pm. Free (ticket still required)
  • Aveley Community Hub, RM15 4BY. Thursday March 3, 7.30pm. Free (ticket still required)
  • The Place, Pitsea Leisure Centre, Basildon, SS13 3DU. Saturday March 5, 7.30pm. Free (ticket still required)
  • Wat Tyler Centre, Pitsea, SS16 4UH. Sunday March 6, 2pm. Free (ticket still required)
  • West Tilbury Village Hall, RM18 8UD. Friday March 11, 7.30pm. Free (ticket still required)

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