Citizen George

Monday October 12th- Saturday 24th October 2015


New play celebrating the life of the Black Mozart at Brass Works Theatre

In its new play, Citizen George, Brass Works Theatre highlights the life of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745–1799), a noted musician, athlete and soldier and son of a black slave. The play is about discrimination and the danger of judging people on first impressions.

This play, written by South-West-based Brian Weaving, is a fictional account of his arrest during the revolution and the strong dynamic cast of all female actors adding another level to the way the play looks at respect and misconceptions.

It is 1793, the time of ‘The Terror’ in revolutionary France when, in just over a year, up to 40,000 people are executed. Citizen George is apparently just a common thief awaiting the guillotine. His cell mates are a pickpocket and an aristocrat watched over by an irascible gaoler. At the start, all three despise George because of his crime but mainly because he is black. By the end of the first act, George has gained the grudging respect of the other three simply by his actions. Then, revelations about his past lead them to honour him but with terrible consequences.

George was a real person who, despite his disadvantages, established himself as a major figure of his time. His achievements were later buried by Napoleon, because of his colour, and have only recently become fully appreciated.

He was the son of George de Bologne Saint-George, a plantation owner and slaveholder on Guadeloupe who while still in France had been part of the inner circle of King Louis XV. His mother was his father’s exceptionally beautiful slave mistress. They took their son to France where he received tutoring normally reserved for French nobility. He became an expert swordsman, composer and musician (violin and harpsichord). Saint-George had powerful backers who appreciated his talents, including Queen Marie Antoinette (to whom he was unusually close), and he was nicknamed ‘Le Mozart Noir’ or the Black Mozart. He was famous, however there were many who attacked him, both physically and politically.

In England, Saint-George became involved with the country’s growing anti-slavery movement, and he founded a similar French group called the Société des amis des noirs (Society of the Friends of Black People).

Brass Works Theatre is South Gloucestershire’s only professional theatre. Established in 2012, Brass Works Theatre was shortlisted for The Stage Fringe Theatre of the Year Award in 2013. It seats 90, has disabled access and a fully-licenced bar. It is also a not-for-profit company.


Dates: 12th – 24th October, shows Monday to Saturday with a matinee on the last Saturday. Performance begins at 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 full/£10 concession

Online booking:


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