This February Watford Palace Theatre will be producing the world premiere of Jefferson’s Garden a gripping, powerful and timely play about the American Revolution.
It comes from the pen of internationally acclaimed writer Timberlake Wertenbaker, author of the award winning Our Country’s Good and will be directed by WPT artistic director Brigid Larmour.
Jefferson’s Garden is an epic and intimate historical drama.
It follows the story of Christian, a young Quaker caught up in the American Revolution, who finds himself forced to pick up a gun and betray his – and his family’s – deeply held pacifist beliefs.
He falls in love with Susanna, a runaway slave woman who is, paradoxically, fighting for the other side.
She has responded to the cunning British offer of freedom for any slave who fights with the British against the revolutionaries.
At the same time he gets close to the seat of power through a friendship with Thomas Jefferson.
Christian finds that the man capable of drafting the inspirational words of the Declaration of Independence lives on his Virginia estate as a Southern Gentleman, his (now-famous) garden being worked by slaves.
The boy has to chart his way through these contradictions as he follows his dreams of freedom, at the birth of modern America.
Said Brigid: “This play brilliantly captures the idealism and passion of young people trying to create a new society, and the bitter disillusion when political pragmatism comes to dilute those original dreams.
“Events around the world, from the Arab Spring to Honk Kong, and particularly the recent protests in America at the series of police killings of black men, make this an extremely timely play.
“Timberlake identifies a fault-line under American democracy that was fought over from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement and whose tragic consequences are still being played out today.
“It is a powerful contribution to the debate about the place of modern America in the world”.
One of Britain’s foremost playwrights, Timberlake Wertenbaker is the recipient of numerous awards including an Olivier award and the 1990 New York Drama Critics award for Our Country’s Good.
She has also received the Writers’ Guild, Critics’ Circle and Susan Smith Blackburn awards for Three Birds Alighting on a Field and the Eileen Anderson Central TV Drama Award for The Love of the Nightingale.
Jefferson’s Garden will run at Watford Palace Theatre from February 5-21.