Thursday, February 6, 2020 to Sunday, February 23, 2020


Venue: Touring

Image: Shiraz Bayjoo 

‘I didn’t know that when slavery was abolished in 1833, it was the slave owners that were compensated. The biggest bailout until 2009’s bank bailout.   I didn’t know that Britain’s wealth had so much to do with empire and exploitation. I didn’t know that Britain had never made an apology. I didn’t know.’

Slavery may have been abolished in 1833, but in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries over 2 million Indian migrant labourers were indentured to work in plantations around the world.  The workers boarded ships that would take them thousands of miles from home in search of ‘a better life’, while the abolitionists, and Indian nationalists, called this a ‘new system of slavery’ and the ‘international shame of the Indian’.   

The roots of our Mauritian, Asian-Caribbean, Malaysian & Asian-African communities are all buried in this history, known as THE GREAT EXPERIMENT.

As award-winning theatre-makers Border Crossings create their new play about these indentured migrations, the company of actors from Mauritius and the UK begin to feel the weight of history in their own lives and their responsibility to the past. Join them as together they question who has the right to tell a story and who has the right to be heard. 

Explore this hidden history further with our programme of wraparound events and experiences: arrive early to look around the interactive exhibition which forms the show’s set; attend a post-show discussion with cast members, researchers and historians; come along to a Collection Day where audiences will be invited to share and discuss items from their family history. 






Thursday 6th and Friday 7th February at 7.45pm

Dugdale Centre, Enfield


Tuesday 11th - Saturday 15th February at 7.30pm (Matinee Wed 12th at 1.30pm)

Tara Theatre, Earlsfield


Post-show discussion: Tue 11th Feb with panellists:

Jatinder Verma, former Artistic Director of Tara Theatre

Gitandjeli Pyndiah, Mauritian scholar in Cultural Studies with a focus on Indian Ocean histories 

Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th February at 7.30pm

The Playground Theatre, Kensington


Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd February at 8pm

Cutty Sark, Greenwich


Post-show discussion: Fri 21st Feb with panellists:

Prof. Samita Sen, Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at the University of Cambridge

Dr Roshni Mooneeram, Mauritian writer and academic 

Janet Steel, Commonwealth Foundation and theatre director

Lainy Malkani, Author of Sugar, Sugar Bittersweet Tales of Indian Migrant Workers

Sunday 23rd February at 3pm 

Museum of London Docklands, Isle of Dogs


Post-show discussion with panellists:

Sara Wajid, Head of Engagement at Curating London, Museum of London

Martin Spafford, Migration Museum

Shiraz Bayjoo, Fine Artist and The Great Experiment Designer

Prof. Catherine Hall, Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College London

Collection Day

Saturday 29th February, 11am - 3pm

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich