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The Return of Benjamin Lay – Play

June 13, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - July 8, 2023 @ 7:00 pm


“It is true I’ve done…extravagant things, every one of them a brutal trial in my soul, but all in service of Truth.”

The world premiere

2023. A Quaker meeting house on the Finborough Road – or is it a theatre?

Benjamin Lay – shepherd, sailor, prophet, and the British Empire’s first revolutionary abolitionist – returns from the grave almost 300 years after his death, as feisty and unpredictable as ever.

A 4ft tall “Little David” confronts the “Goliath” of slavery once again as he pleads to be readmitted into the Quaker community that has disowned him and who still believe him to be dangerous.

Now, “trembling at the edge of playing God himself”, how far will Benjamin go as he stares down his accusers?

Continuing a unique decade-long collaboration between multi-award-winning playwright Naomi Wallace and multi-award-winning historian Marcus Rediker, featuring acclaimed American actor Mark Povinelli and directed by RSC Honorary Associate Director Ron Daniels, The Return of Benjamin Lay sweeps across the centuries in a bold exploration of an utterly impossible man.



June 13, 2023 @ 7:00 pm
July 8, 2023 @ 7:00 pm
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Naomi Wallace and Marcus Rediker


Finborough Theatre
118 Finborough Road
London, SW10 9ED United Kingdom
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020 7244 7439
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