Recorded in the ship’s logs in the early 1600s, English sailors voyaging on behalf of the East India Company stopped off in Sierra Leone where they performed Shakespeare’s Hamlet to local dignitaries. Although Shakespeare was an active playwright of the time, the gesture is one that is questioned, why? An examination of this encounter, which predates the Atlantic slave trade, multi award nominated writer Rex Obano presents The Hamlet Voyage – an age before British imperialism and before Shakespeare becoming globally recognisable. Having played at Bristol Harbour Festival’s 50th anniversary on board the Matthew ship, a replica sailing ship, the production will play at the Bridewell Theatre from the 20th to 23rd July. Ahead of the London premiere, Rex tells us more about exploring this part of world history further, working with the production team to realise the show and what audiences can expect!