Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Until wednesday 18th May

Chicago, 1927. In a recording studio on the city’s South Side, a battle of wills is raging.

Ma Rainey, Mother of the Blues, uses every trick in the book to fight her record producers for control of her music. Hardened by years of ill-treatment and bad deals, she’s determined that ‘Black Bottom’, the song that bears her name, will be recorded her way.

But Levee, the band’s swaggering young trumpet player, plans to catapult the band into the jazz age. His ambition puts them all in danger.

Inspired by the real-life Blues legend and infused with her music, August Wilson’s play speaks powerfully of a struggle for self-determination against overwhelming odds.

Sharon D Clarke plays Ma Rainey.

Talks and events

Dominic Cooke Thu 11 February, 6pm
African American Playwrights Sat & Sun, 27 & 28 February, 11am
Talk: The Music of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Wed 16 March, 5.30pm

Photography (Sharon D Clarke) by Seamus Ryan

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