Based on the little-known, but true, story of Ira Aldridge, Red Velvet tells of the young black American actor's professional struggle in the face of widespread prejudice in London society.
The play is set at Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1833, where Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has just collapsed on stage whilst playing Othello. A young black American actor has been asked to take over the role. But as the public riot in the streets over the abolition of slavery, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre?
Red Velvet received its world premiere at the Tricycle Theatre, London, on 11 October 2012, starring Adrian Lester as Ira Aldridge. It was revived at the Tricycle Theatre on 23 January 2014, before transferring to St Ann's Warehouse, New York, on 25 March 2014.