Phillis in Boston
Phillis in Boston is an original new play dramatizing a key moment in the life of both the nation and the celebrated poet Phillis Wheatley, enslaved author of the first known book of poetry in English by an African American woman, “Reflections on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.”
Published in London in 1773, it was the first known book of poetry in English by an African and the third book published by an American woman.
Phillis in Boston brings a new lens to American history starting, while also gearing Boston up to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
Written by award-winning British-Nigerian playwright Ade Solanke and directed by Emmy-nominated producer, director, and writer Regge Life, Phillis in Boston explores the return of Wheatley, who left Boston an enslaved prodigy and came back a free woman, internationally celebrated poet, and published author.
The play’s stage adds to an immersive experience: the Old South Meeting House was Wheatley’s home church – and a location for key events leading up to the American Revolution.
Phillis in Boston illuminates the multiple struggles for freedom underway in Boston shortly after Wheatley returned in 1773 from a whirlwind visit to London, where she was feted as a literary celebrity.
Emancipated shortly after her return, she rejoins the African American community in New England as they engage in the work of creating a free society: questioning the slave-owning colonists’ true understanding of liberty, strategizing for the abolition of slavery, and debating which side to support in the ensuing revolutionary struggle.
The play also celebrates friendship, love, community, and joy by centering Wheatley’s relationships with her friend and confidant Obour Tanner, her husband-to-be John Peters, and the dynamic abolitionist Prince Hall.
Phillis in Boston explores slavery in New England through the lens of Wheatley’s complex relationship with her enslaver Susanna Wheatley, who supported Wheatley’s literary ambitions even as she kept her in bondage.
Opening night will be Friday, November 3. Performances will run through Sunday, December 3. Sunday night performances will begin at 6pm (doors open at 5:30pm). All other performances will begin at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm).
Opening Night: Friday, November 3 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 4 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 5 at 6:00 PM
Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 9 at 7:00 PM
Friday, November 10 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 11 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 12 at 6:00 PM
Wednesday, November 15 at 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 16 at 7:00 PM
Friday, November 17 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 18 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 19 at 6:00 PM
Friday, November 24 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 25 at 7:00 PM
Wednesday, November 29 at 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 30 at 7:00 PM
Friday, December 1 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, December 2 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 3 at 6:00 PM
310 Washington Street, Boston, MA, 02108 map
Phone: (617) 482-6439
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