What's On

Purple Moon presents: Essentially Black

Essentially Black is a new play from Naomi Denny which follows Jess and Lydia, two students struggling to survive in a system not created for them. What happens when race and elite universities collide?

What to expect

2016. The Rhodes Must Fall movement has come to Oxford University, and students Jess and Lydia are at the heart of it. Neither are white, and surviving at an elite University whilst Black is no easy task. Jess is leading a campaign to get a statue of Cecil Rhodes removed from campus. Lydia is trying to challenge and decolonise the curriculum they are taught. Their mission is to get their university to be as inclusive and accepting as possible – so why does it feel like they’re fighting on their own?

Adapted for a younger audience from the sell-out show at Soho Theatre, Essentially Black looks at what happens when race and elite universities collide, and asks who truly has the right to protest in a time when representation and authenticity are being called into question.

Laugh out loud moments whilst dealing with a difficult and important story” – 4 Stars from Dress Circle Reviews

Timely and Gripping” – 4 Stars, Water Rats Reviews

Thoughtful and Comical in Equal Measures” – 4 Stars, Water Rats Review

All actors work well to power the story forward” – 4 Stars, Water Rats Review

Supporting Workshop (5pm-6pm)

Essentially Black comes with a professionally facilitated post-show workshop, that gives audiences the opportunity to unpack the themes of the show in a safe and creatively held spac

About Purple Moon Drama

Purple Moon Drama are a youth arts organisation who focus on providing access into the creative industry. Our work particularly looks to support young people from traditionally marginalised backgrounds to develop their craft, confidence and connections.


Pay What You Feel Tickets

This is a Pay What You Feel event. To keep in line with our core values, we acknowledge the financial barriers some people may have. By offering this tiered pricing structure, it allows people to select the amount they feel comfortable paying, ensuring our events are accessible to all. Ticket prices for this event range from £0 – £7 so just select the amount you want and can pay; if money is tight, go for a small donation or even a free ticket. If you’re able to pay a bit more, this will contribute to the artists’ fee and allow us to continue offering this price structure, keeping our events and activities affordable for everyone. And if you can pay even a bit more than that, you might just be buying a ticket for someone else!


This event is part of our Black History Month 2022 programme

black history month 2020, poplar unionTower hamlets

Wed 19 October 4pm-6pm (show & workshop)

Pay what you feel (£0-£7)
Age range: 15+

Book Tickets