Directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay

Produced by Hannah Evans, Historic Royal Palaces



It’s the summer of 1539 and Henry VIII is looking for a fourth wife after the death of his beloved Jane Seymour. Join the court as Thomas Cromwell oversees the finishing touches to a feast he hopes will seal the marriage treaty between Henry and Anne of Cleves.


The palace is a flurry of activity with the cooks preparing food for the feast in the kitchens, servants taking deliveries and bustling around the service areas, musicians preparing the entertainment, and guests and courtiers preparing their finest clothes.

However, with Henry’s mood threatening to upset weeks of planning, everyone is watching nervously to find out what happens next. Can the returning favoured court trumpeter, John Blanke help to soothe the king’s mood?


Full of music and drama this new play written for Hampton Court Palace by Ade Solanke and directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay, brings the court of the palace’s most famous resident to life in a theatrical spectacle suitable for all ages.

Daily Schedule

The Court Must Have a Queen runs from the 29 June- 2 September 2018 Thursday- Monday.

Performances take place in the Great Hall at 11:30, 12:30 and 15:30 and last approximately 30 minutes

Book here

Africa Writes 2018



African Literary Figures in Georgian & Edwardian London

Discover the remarkable stories of Phillis Wheatley & A.B.C. Merriman-Labor with Ade Solanke, Danell Jones, S.I. Martin & Emma Dabiri.

More info here

Greenwich Book Festival 2018 – Exhume Those Stories event!

Greenwich Book Festival 2018 – Exhume Those Stories

Dramatising African-British History

Join us for this fabulous discussion at Greenwich Book Festival 2018

Exhume Those Stories: Phillis Wheatley and John Blanke, readings and panel discussion

Sat 16 June 2018 15.30 – 17.00, Council Chamber, Queen Anne, Old Royal Naval College

Chair: The Right Honourable Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary

Performances, discussion, and extracts from: Incomparable Worlds by S.I Martin, soon to be adapted by BBC/Ridley Scott; Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann, soon to be adapted by ITV/Silverprint Pictures; a new edition of The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano edited by Brycchan Carey; and new plays,  Phillis in London and The Court Must Have a Queen by Ade Solanke, the latter to be performed at Hampton Court Palace June 29th – Sept 2rd 2018.

“You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories.”

In her powerful Oscar acceptance speech in 2017, Viola Davis exhorted storytellers to “exhume those stories,” referring to the dearth of films and plays about African historical figures. Join us for rehearsed readings from two new plays featuring two extraordinary historical figures: Phillis Wheatley and John Blanke.

More about this event

New Film Slate

We’re developing an exciting slate of new film projects,  building on partnerships formed at several international film festivals.


TIFF Toronto International Film Festival: Sept 8-13, 2016



ZIFF Zanzibar International Film Festival: July 9-17 2016



DIFF Durban International Film Festival | Durban Film Market (S Africa): June 16-26, 2016

TIFF this year includes Nigerian films via the Lagos City to City Focus.


TIFF Lagos programme



A Wonderful Award from Sheffield University

University of Sheffield Distinguished Alumni 2016 – me!

Humbled  – and extremely honoured – to be the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Sheffield.

It was very moving going back to my old campus this week for the award ceremony, which took place in the  very same hall I originally graduated from many (many) moons ago!

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The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award


The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded to former students as an acknowledgement from their University of their achievements and success.


Sheffield is a member of the Russell Group of leading UK research universities. Its outstanding performance for excellent teaching and research, as part of a genuinely global community, is consistently confirmed by international independent assessments. 

Firth Court


My sincere thanks to the Award Committee for this amazing compliment in selecting me for this prestigious award. Huge thanks, also, to the Alumni Office (especially Claire Rundstrom, Head of Alumni Relations) for the wonderful hospitality I enjoyed on the day.

It was a  beautiful experience, and brought back many fond memories. Studying English Literature was the foundation of my writing life and, even through it was during the 1980s, we even had a professor who discussed all sorts of writing in English, not just that from England. So I had some access to exciting and diverse worlds of writing early on.

So I’m thrilled – and motivated. Much more to do! Thank you, University of Sheffield.


Audience feedback


“I absolutely loved this play. Brilliant acting, dialogue, characters, I was spellbound for the duration. Well done everyone ??????  ”  Sola Ott (via Facebook)
“A play that understands teenage angst. Not to be missed.”
– @imjussayin2

“Brilliant incisive writing and great performances”
– @NMTAutomatics

“Inspired by Spora Stories”
– @Genevieve_Dunne

“Thank you so much. You opened up debate about what race means for Spora Stories, for London, and beyond. I hope through your play people consider more viewpoints and think about society in a new light.”
– @RosieCappuccino

“We saw your play last Friday. Really enjoyed it. Raises some serious issues but funny as well. The young cast was brilliant! congrats.” – Ifeoma

“I was thinking about it more…in the discussion afterwards all the focus was on Toby and his difficult decision -but I was also interested in Bali -because she was beginning to question her privileged background and to look at other options…….it’s all fascinating stuff!” – Pat

“Really enjoyed the play and will be coming back for second helpings at Bernie Grant – as usual you hit on subjects that so many of us are having conversations about in our kitchens and front rooms – which is what I especially love about your work.” – Deborah

“Saw Ade Solanke’s East End Boys, West Girls with Ellen Thomas. Great script. Reminding us of the pressures that are put on the young not only from parents but also from their peers. Beautifully executed by a young and relatively new cast members. Well done Ade.” – Anni Domingo

“East End Boys, West End Girls is a success because it deals with the challenges our young people face when choosing between schools, friends, dreams and opportunity. I went expecting belly laughs especially after the fab “Pandora’s Box” but instead I was moved and educated by the performances of the talented young cast (19 – 23) about the world they live in, which although similar, has many differences to the world I grew up in. If you are a parent, uncle, aunty or someone interested in raising youth aspirations, this family play (I took my wife and children, as did many others) is the one for you.” – Toyin Agbetu