Written by Marcia Johnson
October 19 – November 5, 2022
In the script of history, who gets a speaking role?
In Kenya in 1952, Mercy, a restaurant proprietor, is hired to cater the impending visit of Princess Elizabeth, soon to be Queen. In 2015, another story unfolds in London, England, where a young Kenyan-born Canadian, Tia, is working as an intern on a TV drama series about the British royal family – while also pursuing a writing project of her own. These parallel narratives seem only coincidentally connected – until a surprising twist reveals a deeper relationship between the two.
Audiences are certain to enjoy this ingenious contemporary comedy that keeps us guessing as it explores issues of colonialism, nationalism and the question of who gets to have a voice.
Runs 2 hours 20 minutes with intermission, Suitable for audiences 12+.
Meet Serving Elizabeth director, Esie Mensah.
Esie explains how art allows us to come together. With the Queen’s passing, this particular piece, Serving Elizabeth, provides greater opportunity for us to have a conversation.
“In Serving Elizabeth, I wanted to show that colonialism has far reaching effects that many of us don’t think about. All the characters are fictional including my version of the late queen and there are no villains or heroes. I hope that Theatre Aquarius audiences enjoy it while also gaining a new perspective on history.” Marcia Johnson, Playwright. Read her bio here.
Marcia Johnson joined Theatre Aquarius program director Jennie Esdale to speak about her experience as a writer and actor, sharing valuable insight into her process. Watch here.
Click here to get your tickets to Serving Elizabeth
On the Mainstage at Theatre Aquarius October 19 – November 5, 2022.
“Serving Elizabeth is a gem. Theatre companies across the country should be clamouring to mount their own productions”
– Now Magazine
“This exciting new play is fresh, funny, thought-provoking, and full of unexpected surprises”
– Broadway World
“If you like The Crown, then you may like Serving Elizabeth”
– The Globe and Mail
“Happily, Serving Elizabeth’s originality and intelligence — and the validity of the points it makes — adds up to a play that stands on its own”
– Victoria Times
“Funny and nuanced”
– Chatelaine Magazine
Meet the Cast & Creative Team
Sean has been a company member of the Stratford Festival for 20 seasons, performing in Shakespeare, musicals, contemporary classics, and new plays. Credits there include this season’s Richard III and All’s Well That Ends Well, The Merchant of Venice, Cabaret, Titus Andronicus, Guys and Dolls, Three Sisters, The Pirates of Penzance, Pericles, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, 42nd Street, The Swanne (Princess Charlotte), The Neverending Story, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He has performed in Canada at Canadian Stage, the Segal Centre, the Harold Green Jewish Theatre, and the Grand Theatre, and in the US both on- and off-Broadway as well as in many regional theatres and a national tour. He shares a Dora Award for Canadian Stage’s production of London Road, and is a graduate of Duke University, Queen’s University, and the Juilliard School.
Percy makes his Theatre Aquarius Debut in Serving Elizabeth. Percy appeared in the dance theatre production AKOMA (Betty Oliphant Theatre). Previous television and film credits include American Gods on STARZ Network, In the Dark, and CBC Gem’s dramatic comedy Virgins!, Under the Christmas Tree (MOW), Black Liberators WWII on the History Channel. Percy trains at EVN Film Studios. Follow Percy @plantainpercy.
Kaylee makes her Theatre Aquarius debut in Serving Elizabeth. Kaylee’s theatre credits include The Invisible (Catalyst), Beautiful: the Carole King Musical (National Tours), The Light in the Piazza, Cabaret, Trifles, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (Shaw), Jesus Christ Superstar (Broadway, Stratford, La Jolla Playhouse), Camelot (Stratford), The Jazz Singer (HGJTC), The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady (Western Canada Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Citadel), Les Misérables (Arts Club), Radio City Music Hall, Niagara Symphony Orchestra. Select Film and Television credits include Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Workin’ Moms, Mayday, Christmas Movie Magic, Reign, Good Witch, America’s Got Talent, The Tony Awards.
Thanks to TH and DPR. @kaylee.harwood.
This is Germaine’s Theatre Aquarius debut. Other selected theatre credits include Finally There’s Sun (Stratford Festival), Dixon Road, Blackout (Musical Stage Company), Orphan Song (Tarragon), Into the Woods (Talk is Free Theatre). Germaine’s writing credits include After the Reckoning (Centaur Theatre), The Smearing of Silent Blood (Stratford Festival), The Rising (Charlottetown Festival), The Lobster Who Cried Person (Bad Hats Theatre) and King Henry Five (Driftwood Theatre). Follow them on social @germaine.k.
This is Keren’s Theatre Aquarius debut. Keren’s previous acting credits include Reaching for Starlight (Geordie Theatre); How Black Mothers Say I Love You (Black Theatre Workshop); For Colored Girls (MAI/Les 6 Productions); Binti’s Journey (Theatre Direct/Black Theatre Workshop); Love and Information, Daughters of the Revolution, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New Dome Theatre). Keren’s film and television credits include Separated at Code; Lily Pad. A graduate of Dawson College Professional Theatre and alumna of Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program, Keren says, “There is nothing better than when your passion meets your purpose.” A resident of Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) of Caribbean heritage, Keren was fortunately blindsided by acting while taking a theatre elective. She is dedicated to embodying multi-faceted characters in stories that explore the spectrum of humanity. You can follow Keren @letmeklrmythroat.
With over one hundred shows and 25 seasons with Theatre Aquarius, Beth is very excited to be back! Other theatre credits include Oliver, Sound of Music, Anne & Gilbert (National Arts Centre), Camelot & Saturday Night Fever (North American Tours), Dreamgirls & The Winslow Boy (MTC), Les Miserables, Big Band Legends, Evita, Elf and many other shows (Drayton Entertainment). Beth is a graduate of the Theatre Program at University of Waterloo.
Set and Costume Designer
For Theatre Aquarius, Sexy Laundry, The Hours That Remain Jackie’s other theatre credits include: Annie Mae’s Movement, Almighty Voice and His Wife, Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, Salt Baby, From Thine Eyes, HUFF (Native Earth Performing Arts), Gas Girls, Cake, The First Stone (New Harlem Productions), Romeo and Juliet (TD Dream in High Park/Can Stage), Zadie’s Shoes, Lady Sunrise (Factory Theatre), Brown Balls (Fu-Gen), Fish Eyes Trilogy (GCTC), A Year with Frog and Toad (MTYP), Moment, Dissidents, KISS, Oil, Gloria (ARC Theatre), Cowboy Versus Samurai, 39 Steps, Oraltorio (Soulpepper), The Komagata Maru Incident (Stratford Festival).
Production Designer and Costume Designer: Inside, The Beard (Rabid Pictures), The Trip, (Un)Certainty (Etheriel Films), Awake, Bable (Expect Theatre), The Ache (Wondrous Light), Lune (Open City Works), You’re Invited (Arc Theatre), One Small Visit (Coffee Partners). Jackie has a BFA from Concordia University in Theatrical Design, an MFA from Northwestern University in Theatrical Design (full scholarship). She also Teaches Theatrical Design at the University of Toronto (UTSC). Jackie has been a resident artist with Artist Repertory Company (ARC) since 2013. She was named in NOW magazine’s Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2009, nominated for the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design, nominated for a Saskatoon Area Theatre award, Winnipeg Theatre Award, 2 Broadway World awards, and she has received 9 Dora nominations for outstanding set and costume design.
Assistant Stage Manager
For Theatre Aquarius, Jasmyne’s credits include Ring of Fire, Pat and Skee, Home for the Holidays, Sweat and Elf: The Musical, Cabaret. Other theatre credits include Sweet Delilah Swim Club, Kinky Boots, Grease, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, West Side Story (Drayton Entertainment) Return to Grace (RGA Media – Fallsview Casino). Jasmyne’s film credits include Most Dangerous Game Season 2 (CBS), Reacher (Amazon). Jasmyne is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Technical Theatre Program.
Thank you for supporting live theatre, enjoy the show!
Apprentice Stage Manager
For Theatre Aquarius, Logan’s credit includes Ring of Fire. Other theatre credits include Grow (Grand Theatre), Alice in Wonderland (Guild Festival Theatre), When Wendy Grew Up (Litmus Theatre), Mary Stuart, Concord Floral (FSPA), Dido and Aeneas / Aeneas and Dido, L’Etoile (Dalhousie Opera). Logan has a BA, Honours in Stage Design and Technical Theatre from Dalhousie University. Visit Logan’s website at www.loganmcnutt.com.
Serving Elizabeth is Esie’s debut at Theatre Aquarius. Her other select theatre credits include Dixon Road, Caroline or Change, Victory, The Russian Play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, 1837: Farmers’ Revolt, Venus’ Daughter. Esie’s film and TV credits include Pretty Hard Cases, New Monuments, Cavities, TESSEL, A Revolution of Love, FoxTV’s Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Expanse. Essie has received two Dora nominations, and she is a member of Canadian Guild for Stage Directors and Choreographers. Originally from Hamilton, Esie is a graduate of George Brown College in Commercial Dance Studies. You can follow Esie on Social @EsieMensah www.esiemensah.com.
Tim makes his Theatre Aquarius debut with Serving Elizabeth. Select theatre credits include Pipeline, How Black Mothers Say I Love You (Black Theatre Workshop); From The Stars In The Sky To the Fish In The Sea (Geordie Theatre); This Is How We Got Here, The River (Magnus Theatre); Marjorie Prime (Segal Centre). Tim was also Assistant Lighting Designer for Porte Parole’s production of L’Assemblée on Télé-Québec. A graduate of the Contemporary Dance Department at Concordia University; Graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada; Member of IATSE Local ADC659 and Association Des Professionnels Des Arts De La Scène Du Québec, Tim is also a two-time Montreal English Theatre Award Nominee for Outstanding Lighting Design and President of the Board of Directors for Mainline Theatre / Montréal Fringe Festival. You can follow Tim @timrodrigues_lx.
Christopher is a Hamilton-based performer, director, writer, sound designer, composer, and educator. His stage work has taken him across Canada to Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Montreal – and internationally to New York, Bogotà, Munich, Brisbane, Dublin, and Vienna. He has been nominated for 16 Dora Mavor Moore Awards across disciplines, winning in 2017 for his direction of Pomona (ARC), and in 2011 for his performance in Enda Walsh’s New Electric Ballroom (MacKenzie Ro). Past roles in artistic leadership include UnSpun Theatre, The Room, and ARC. He has been the Festival Director of the Hamilton Fringe since 2020.
Serving Elizabeth is Francis’ Theatre Aquarius debut. Previous credits include Gīkūyū Language Consultant and Dialect Coach for Serving Elizabeth (Stratford). Francis trained at University of Alberta MBA Program, Canadian Foreign Service Institute, Intercultural Effectiveness Course. From 2015 – 2021, Francis was a Kiswahili language instructor as part of Kiswahili Learning Centre. Francis is a radio host, news broadcaster and DJ, and has been heard on Kiswahili FM (CJSR FM 88 Radio). Francis’ website is www.kilece.com.
Special Thanks and Acknowledgements
Theatre Aquarius proudly strengthens and expands our relationships, making valuable and relevant connections with more members of the community. By partnering with various local, national, international arts enterprises, community partners, financial and in-kind supporters, we are able to promote a deeper understanding of our role as a vital part of the community.
The services of Jackie Chau (mentor) and Sarah Yuen (mentee) were made possible through the Associated Designers of Canada Mentorship Program funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
- Elements from the album NGEWA by female Kenyan percussionist Kasiva Mutua are used throughout the musical soundscape of this production.
Outreach Community Partners
- Hamilton Regional Indigenous Centre
- Urban Indigenous Strategy City of Hamilton
- Indigenous Student Services McMaster
- Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg
- Aboriginal Health Centre De dwa da dehs nye>s
- Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
- Empowerment Squared
- Mississaugas of the Credit
- Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
- Welcome Inn
- YMCA Newcomer Youth
- Immigrant Working Centre
- Hamilton You Poets
- HWDSB and HWCDSB