Emperor Jones 1973

The story of African American Brutus Jones, who after escaping from jail, escapes to a an island and sets himself up as emperor.


The Emperor Jones is a 1920 play that tells the tale of Brutus Jones, a resourceful, self-assured African American, who kills another black man in a dice game, is jailed, and later escapes to a small, backward Caribbean island where he sets himself up as emperor. The play recounts his story in flashbacks as Brutus makes his way through the jungle in an attempt to escape former subjects who have rebelled against him.


Eugene O’Neill


Director Ian Wooldridge
Movement and choreography – Ray Mclean
Lighting – Les Latner


Thomas Baptiste, Iain Anders, Mariane di Marko, Carl Andrews, Ivan Fraser, Joseph Isles, Bill Nighy, Keith Steele, Gordon Tialobi.


Leeds Playhouse, Gardner Centre for the Arts, University of Sussex



“It is a play gripped by persecution and a deep, unknown, primitive power. Here it is directed methodically and with functional imagination. Thomas Baptiste as Jones starts off cocky, brash, bullying…”
The Guardian

Merete Bates

…”O’Neill’s economy and power is matched by the skillful direction of Ian Wooldridge, which uses a minimum of theatrical devices for a maximum effect. The strong combination of African drum sounds with mimed action works most notably for the dance of the witch-doctor, the emotional climax of this production”.
The Stage