The story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, one of the first aristocrats of African heritage living in England during the 18th century,  has been turned in to a musical.

The play was created to give BME members of the Croydon community who would not usually be involved in or have access to the performing arts the opportunity to be part of a local production that celebrates their contribution to Black British history.  

 The cast is made up of young people aged nine to  16-year’s-old with narrators aged 60 and over recreating the story of Dido who grew up at Kenwood House with her great-uncle Lord Mansfield.

Educator, life coach and innovator Evadne Bygrave founded Sing a Book Community Interest Company  in 2014 after using song as a teaching tool in her own practice, to engage children in reading.  

Thanks to donations and sponsorship, organisers were able to deliver a two-week boot camp for performing arts in August that was attended by the current cast of the show.

Evadne said:“Our older members have been brilliant role models for the young performers.  The project has given them an enhanced sense of purpose and significantly reduced isolation and loneliness amongst the elders.”

The play takes place at The Shoestring Theatre, Oakley Road, South Norwood with the opening night  for the general public at 2 pm and 7.30 pm on Saturday 3 and Sunday  November 4.

Pete Tidy, Theatre-in-Education Director added: “Being part of this project has helped raise the self-worth and self-confidence of young people who would not normally engage in the arts.” 

Tickets are available from Eventbrite or email: