Professor Heather Nathans, Alex Werner, curator of the Dockland Museum, Professor John Oldfield.

Our planned documentary explores how a short story from 1657 influenced perception on gender, race, and slavery forever. This is a film about strife, hardship and courage, about the power of art in civil activism and an unwavering endeavor to abolish slavery.

We begin by looking at the true love story/ tragedy of a British Merchant named Inkle and an Amerindian named Yarico who “for her love, lost her liberty”. The story of Yarico and Inkle, who goes on to betray her and sells her into slavery in Barbados, was a powerful reminder of the dark heritage of slavery. The supposedly true story first appeared in Richard Ligon’s book A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes and was subsequently transformed into a highly successful opera, performed 98 times at the Haymarket Theater, with a total of 164 performances on London stages by 1800.

Using the story of Inkle and Yarico as an example, we take a unique look at the way theatre influenced socio-political landscapes and in particular it’s effect on Britain’s anti slavery movement. At its heart, this is a documentary about the role of art in activism. We speak to academics and explore the historical and socio-economic contexts of that era. We hear about the theatre and its role in influencing public perception in the 17th and 18th centuries and explore the shift in attitudes to how society viewed slavery. As we travel to Barbados and visit the plantation Yarico worked on, we learn about the conditions slaves such as her and those from Africa had to endure. We speak with descendants of the Barbadian slaves and learn of the uprisings and revolutions that took place in the struggle to abolish slavery. As we explore this we shine a spotlight on contemporary issues and the devastating underworld of the slave trade today. We speak to various artist “activists” and take a look at the role of art in education/ activism and draw parallels between the power of art as a human expression and its potential to effect change.

Guest speakers/contributors

Professor Frank Felsenstein (New Jersey, US)

Frank Felsenstein is the Reed D. Voran Honors Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Ball State University in Indiana. He was previously Reader in Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of Leeds. He has held positions at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Yeshiva College, New York, and Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. He is the author of English Trader, Indian Maid: Representing Gender, Race, and Slavery in the New World -- An Inkle and Yarico Reader. Anti-Semitic Stereotypes: A Paradigm of Otherness in English Popular Culture, 1660-1830, and of Felsenstein has published scholarly editions of works by Tobias Smollett (Travels through France and Italy), John Thelwall (Incle and Yarico), and Peter Aram (A Practical Treatise of Flowers). His co-authored book (with Dr. James Connolly), What Middletown Read: Print Culture in an American Small City, is in the press (U. Mass. Book History Series), due out by the summer of 2015. He teaches classes on the history of the book, Shakespeare, representations of difference, and Holocaust literature.

Michael Riedel (New York, U.K.)

Michael Riedel is an American journalist. He is the theater columnist for the New York Post and co-host (with Susan Haskins) of the weekly talk show Theater Talk on PBS. His skewering of Broadway shows and personalities in his column have made him a controversial and often feared figure on the New York theater scene. He has been called "the enfant terrible of the New York press"

Doctor Aidan McQuade (London U.K.)

Chief Executive of the world's leading international anti-slavery organisation and the oldest international human rights organisation in the world : Anti – Slavery International

Professor Kevin Bales (London U.K.)

Kevin Bales is Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation. He was Co-Founder of Free the Slaves, the US Sister organization of Anti-Slavery International and is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Roehampton University in London. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Cocoa Initiative. His book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy published in 1999, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and has now been published in ten other languages. Archbishop Desmond Tutu called it “a well researched, scholarly and deeply disturbing expose of modern slavery”. In 2008 he was invited to address the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Paris, and to join in the planning of the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative

Professor John Oldfield (Hull, U.K.)

John Oldfield is Wilberforce Professor of Slavery and Emancipation and Director of the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull. A Cambridge graduate, he is the author of Popular Politics and British Anti-Slavery (1995), Chords of Freedom: Commemoration, Ritual and British Transatlantic Slavery (2007) and, most recently, Transatlantic Abolitionism in the Age of Revolution (2013). He has written numerous articles on slavery and abolition in the Atlantic World and is currently writing a book on the mobilisation of public opinion against slavery in Britain and the United States, 1750-1850. His research interests include US history, maritime history and heritage studies. From 2010 to 2012 he was Director of the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of Southampton.

Doctor Karl Watson (Barbados)

Karl Watson is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, University of the West Indies. He is the Editor of the Journal of the Barbados Museum, Secretary (Hon) of the Barbados National Trust, Chairman of the George Washington House Restoration Committee, and the Barbados/Carolinas Committee. His publications include, Barbados, The Civilised Island, A Social History 1750 to 1816, The White Minority of the Caribbean (with H.Johnson) and Old Doll, Matriarch of Newton Plantation.

Professor Pedro Welch (Barbados)

Professor Pedro L V Welch is a Professor of Social and Medical History, Caribbean historian, scholar and administrator with considerable experience in senior university administration, research and development.

Professor Welch is the author of The Urban Context of the Slave Plantation System; Bridgetown, Barbados, 1680-1834 published by Ian Randle Publishers and James Currey Ltd. He is a recipient of the Principal’s Award for Excellence 20o9, and was awarded Supervisor of the best PhD thesis for the academic year 2011. He is a Commonwealth Fellow and currently serves as Chair of the Barbados Task Force on Reparations. He has co-authored three other publications as well as published several book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed publications. Professor Welch has appeared on several BBC and NBC productions as a consultant, and served for six years continuously as Secretary-Treasurer of the Association of Caribbean Historians.

Professor Jenna Gibbs (Miami, U.S.)

Jenna Gibbs had a 20+ year career in theater and theater education before returning to higher education to complete her Ph.D. in history at UCLA and coming to FIU in 2009. Professor Gibbs’ research interests are situated in the Atlantic world in the long revolutionary era (1750s-1850s) and she is broadly interested in the interrelationship of culture and politics.

Her first book, Performing the Temple of Liberty: Slavery, Theater and Popular Culture in London and Philadelphia (1760s-1850s), was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2014. The book explores the world of theatrical and related print production on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the long revolutionary era. Drawing on a wide range of performed texts as well as ephemera—broadsides, ballads, and cartoons—the book examines the crucial role of transatlantic theater and popular culture in steering Anglo-American debates about slavery, concepts of liberty, natural rights, and the nature of blackness. The book traces the migration of theatrical texts, images, and performers back and forth between London and Philadelphia and situates them into critical axes of disputation: slave-trade abolition, emancipation in Philadelphia and the British West Indies, labor unrest in the 1840s, and pre-Civil War sectionalism in the United States.

Alex Werner (London, UK)

Curator and Head of History Collections at the Museum of London which hosts the “Slavery and Sugar” museum in the Docklands.

Vanessa Salter (Hull U.K.)

Vanessa Salter is Assistant Curator of Projects at Hull Museums. She was heavily involved in the creation of the current exhibition at the Wilberforce House Museum

Brian Kurtas (Philadelphia, U.S.)

Casting Director & Assistant to the Producing Artistic Director at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, this theatre is the oldest theatre in the US, opening it’s doors in 1809. Inkle and Yarico

Emily Gray (London, U.K.)

Emily Gray studied directing at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama having graduated from Cambridge University, prior to embarking on a career of directing musicals, opera, new plays and devised work nationally and internationally. Her expertise lies in developing new work and movement direction. Emily is presently the Artistic Director of Trestle Theatre, a mask and physical theatre company, and she has held roles as Artistic Director of TAG Theatre Company Glasgow and Associate Director at Unicorn Theatre London. In 1996 she won a Channel 4 Bursary and became Associate Director at Nottingham Playhouse. Emily was the director of Yarico staged at London Theatre Workshop in February 2015. She is also responsible for creation of Yarico Workshop Programme for schools.

Jodie Kidd (London U.K.)

Jodie Kidd is a well-known television presenter and has recently become a member of a television producing team. Jodie is also a well-known model. In 1997 Holders Season revived the original 1787 opera Jodie has been involved with her family’s 17 year journey in bringing Yarico to the London stage.

Doctor Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo (Florida, U.S.)

Augusto is an associate Professor at the University of Florida

• Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, 1993

• Certificate in Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 1993

• B.A., Anthropology, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, 1985

Research Interests:

Historical ecology, evolution of ideology, ecology of religion, indigenous peoples of South America (especially the Amazon and the Andes), origins of technology and food production, history and theory of Latin American archaeology and anthropology.