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It’s 1821, before the emancipation proclamation and long before the right to vote, and a group of African American actors in New York City are putting on plays that thrill audiences both black and white.  But when the company decides to stage its own production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, it sets itself on a collision course with a fancy, white company doing the same work, prompting questions of “who owns Shakespeare?” and, indeed: how can Shakespeare best speak to all people across the centuries?  Carlyle Brown’s hugely entertaining and iconic

The African Company Presents Richard III—is written by Carlyle Brown and based on true events—not only sheds light on this under-celebrated and little-known moment of history but asks provocative questions about the nature of existence and performance, ownership and identity, culture and appropriation, and whether oppressed people who have, daily, to “pass” in a hostile society, are not, perhaps, the greatest actors of us all.

Directed by Vernice Miller
Scenic Design by Seth Reiser
Costume Design by Asa Benally
Lighting Design by Yi-Chung Chen
Sound Design & Original Music by Chris Lane
African Dance and Drumming Direction by Kerfala Bangoura
Voice and Acting Coaching by Kat Rina Davi

Thurs., February 23 – Sat., February 25 and Wed., March 1 – Sat. March 4 @ 8pm          
Matinée: Sun., February 26 @ 3pm

  • All performances take place in the Smith Theatre (in the new Sloan Performing Arts Center) on the University of Rochester’s River Campus.
  • Curtain times are 8pm (evenings) and 3pm (matinees).
  • Ticket prices for mainstage shows are $15 for the General Public and $12 for Seniors (65+); also $12 for UR staff, faculty, alumni and $8 for (non-UR) students.  Tickets are free for UR students (with ID), one hour before the performance at the door 
  • Tickets are available online at or at the Box Office (1 hour prior to curtain) 

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