This House UK Tour

23rd Feb 2018 - 2nd Jun 2018

Book Tickets

Rough Crossings

A couple embrace under a black tree and a burning red sun.

By Simon Schama. Adapted by Caryl Phillips. Directed by Rupert Goold.

A co-production with Birmingham Rep, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Lyric Hammersmith.

Season Closed

As the American War of Independence reaches its climax, the freed plantation slave Thomas Peters and John Clarkson of the British navy embark upon a journey which will redefine racial politics and change attitudes towards slavery forever...

Rough Crossings tells the heroic story of the resettlement of a group of former slaves in West Africa and of the bruising relationship between Peters and Clarkson, divided by the barriers of race, but united in their ambitions of equality. Moving from the meeting houses of London to the inhospitable terrain of Sierra Leone, Rough Crossings is a vibrantly theatrical exploration of racial identity, of home, of what it means to be free.

Adapted from Simon Schama's brilliantly provocative account, Rough Crossings explores the powerful contemporary resonances of this tipping point in history. In Headlong Theatre's world premiere, the award-winning playwright and novelist Caryl Phillips carved a rich dramatic narrative from Schama's bestseller.

Headlong's tour of Rough Crossings marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade act in the British Empire.

  • It matters not what you call us, for the very trade which reduced us to homelessness, and this supplication, deemed that from this time on we would no longer be men who can be securely tied to your nations.
  • We are men shackled to our race.
  • ★★★★ This is truly epic theatre The Guardian
  • ★★★★ Ravishingly perceptive Time Out
  • ★★★★ A bold, vivid piece of work The Times
  • ★★★★ Caryl Phillips does an impressive job… the ever-inventive Rupert Goold keeps the story vivid and compelling Mail on Sunday
  • ★★★★ Goold has once again come up with some high quality goods. The cast is impassioned in tooth and claw. What's On Stage