intercultural theatre and performing arts company


Written by John Agard
Directed by Mark C. Hewitt

featuring Leann O’Kasi as Elizabeth
Christopher Paddon as Ralegh

with live Elizabethan music arranged and performed by
Konrad Adamczewski (guitar) & Pam Hewitt (voice)

“Since history and half-truths make good bedfellows,
a little white lie won’t hurt.”

A satirical imagining of the tobacco-fuelled flirtations of Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Ralegh with live Elizabethan music. Puff evokes the Elizabethan court’s enchantment with tobacco and the wonders of the New World, the Queen herself having been introduced to the puffing habit by Ralegh. But there is a growing awareness of a black presence in England, as shown by the famous edict to the Lord Mayor of London from the Queen herself, stating that there were 'too many Blackamoores in the realm.''

Writer John Agard, who was recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry 2012), uses this iconic sceanario to subversively engage with contemporary issues of identity and diversity.

The play was previewed in December, 2013 at the Elizabethan Room in the National Portrait Gallery, followed by a Summer tour in 2014 aimed to rural venues and local festivals.

Further dates are planned for 2016.
Read a review of the performance of Puff at Portsmouth Festivities »
See photographic documentation of the Summer Tour by Nivine Keating »
View the promotional video »

Cast photos © Josh Pulman, 2013

Performances to date

2014 - Summer tour
29 June - The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth (Portsmouth Festivities)
30 June - Vicar’s Hall, Chichester Cathedral Cloisters (Festival of Chichester)
1 July - Wish Tower, Eastbourne
2 July - The Ostrich Hotel, Robertsbridge
3 July - Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
4 July - Hailsham Pavilion, East Sussex
5 July - All Saints Centre, Lewes
9 July - Library, Covent Garden, London

2013 - previews
14/15 December - All Saints Centre, Lewes
19/20 December - National Portrait Gallery, London

puff-programme cover