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Princess Essex – Westcliff-on-Sea venue

Southend venue. Balmoral Community Centre, Salisbury Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7AU

You can book for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch venue here


It’s 1908 and Joanna is planning to attract the attention of both Southend and the whole nation by becoming the first black woman to compete in a beauty pageant in the UK.

Many pageants of the time had colour bars in place, however at The Kursaal in Southend there appears to have been a misprint; a loophole, and maybe, just maybe, Joanna could enter but in disguise!

Initially, it’s all fun and games – everybody wants to know who this African Princess is – but then it suddenly dawns on Joanna that she might actually win, but what if they were to discover in the meantime that she isn’t in fact who she says she is? How might her actions affect her family, and other black people living in Essex?

Written and performed by Anne Odeke (RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch), Princess Essex is the real-life comedic tale of how one woman took on the prejudices of the time and in doing so, realised the importance of being true to oneself.

After the show, Anne will be answering any questions you may have.


Created with public funding from Arts Council England, the show is also in partnership with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, The Mercury Theatre Colchester and the South Essex African and Caribbean Association (SEACA).

Princess Essex has been made possible thanks to the support of Creative Estuary Co-commissions.

Age Guidance 12+

Warning: The play uses the authentic language of the time, which some people may find offensive.




+65p QNext fee

Running Time

60 minutes


No interval in this performance


External Venue



Book a ticket

Saturday, 26 February 2022 19:30 The Balmoral Community Centre Book Now

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