a cry for freedom
adapted and performed by
Journal of a Residence on a
Georgian Plantation (1838-1839)
Frances Anne Kemble
Born in London in 1809, Frances Anne Kemble, called Fanny, was a descendent of the famous theatrical Kembles, including her father, Charles, and her aunt, Sarah Siddons.
Although writing was Fanny’s first love, she became an actress at age nineteen to help save her father’s theatre, Covent Garden.
In 1832 she and her father toured America. It was there that she met and married, Pierce Mease Butler, a Philadelphia businessman whose family owned two slave plantations in Georgia.
As an Englishwoman and abolitionist, she was horrified at the idea of slavery and believed that she could go to Georgia and help the slaves. She went there for the winter season, 1838-1839, shortly after the birth of her second daughter.
Although she lived there just four months, her journal vividly depicts life on these Georgia plantations.
Fanny did not publish her journal until 1863 when she feared England would recognize and support the Confederate States.
This performance is an effort to show the face of slavery through Fanny’s unique perspective.