Terra Nova productions, the only professional theatre company on the Island of Ireland dedicated to making intercultural work for 15 years, presents the World premiere of The Trumpet & the King, The Studio at the Grand Opera House Belfast, March 14 & 15 followed by a Northern Ireland tour until April 1.
The Trumpet & The King is the story of the boyhood friendship between Henry VIII (Sam Claridge) and John Blanke (Fejiro Emasiobi), Britain’s first named black artist.
At the end of 1501, John Blanke, a young black musician of exceptional talent left the ancient city of Granada and made his way to the court of Henry VII of England. There he forged a surprising musical bond with the child who would become the infamous Henry VIII. These two extraordinary young men scramble their way to adulthood full of feeling, often outrageously funny, as they try to figure out love, sex, politics, and what it means to be a man.
The play is the story of their imagined relationship, rooted in extensive historical research into the known facts, and the historic period. The play moves between Limbo and the Memories of John and Henry; shifting between an otherworldly place where the men meet as equals after 500 years and the murky world of their past. Their memories are emotionally charged, sometimes distorted, often contradictory, but also funny, heartfelt and poignant. The world of the play spans Islamic and Christian Europe in the late 15th and early 16th century, from the Alhambra in Muslim Granada to the Tudor Court.
Performed by two outstanding young actors, who effortlessly create all the characters of their Tudor world, The Trumpet & The King is a play about music, and belonging and friendship across religious and cultural divides.
This project is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, The Leche Trust, the Community Relations Council and The Community Foundation.
Andrea Montgomery from Terra Nova Production said: ”Terra Nova Productions is delighted to announce the world premiere of The Trumpet & The King in our 15th year of producing intercultural theatre on the island of Ireland. The play has been developed over three years with input from international artists and over 60 members of Terra Nova’s community. In the play Sam Claridge and Fejiro Emasiobiplay Henry, John and a host of other characters, from Katherine of Aragon to Henry VII. The Trumpet & The King is a funny, sexy, painful coming of age story, written in bold modern colloquial language. A rich, complicated black-white relationship is centre stage on NI stages, which is uniquely placed to incubate a work that looks at a world shaped by religious tension, the clash between power and art, Islam and Christianity.”
Lizzie Devlin, Community Arts Development Officer, added: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is pleased to support Terra Nova Productions and this tour of The Trumpet & The King. Terra Nova has been bringing theatre to audiences in Northern Ireland for 15 years now, offering an important platform for celebrating intercultural arts in the region and helping to bring great art to all.”
The Trumpet & The King will premiere at The Studio at the Grand Opera House Belfast, March 14 & 15 followed by an NI tour:
- March 16 Home Place Bellaghy,
- March 21 Studio 1A Bangor,
- March 22 Marketplace Theatre Armagh,
- March 24 Ardhowen Theatre Enniskillen,
- March 25 Island Arts Centre Lisburn,
- March 27 The Braid Ballymena,
- March 29 & 30 Old Court House Antrim and
- April 1 Down Arts Centre Downpatrick.