Arcola Theatre and Oscar Pearce present


Written by Sasha Hails

Directed by Oscar Pearce

“Now I’m dead I’ve got my ambition back. I want to be a psychic surgeon – to sew the stories back into the land. Because a country is a body with memories too…”

Possession is a tale of four mother’s lives interweaving across continents and time…

Kasambayi, recently arrived in the UK from the Democratic Republic of Congo, starts her contractions on the number 38 bus at Clapton Pond, and gives the final push at Victoria. She names her daughter Hope — hope for their new life, hope for their future.

Once Hope is fully grown, her path crosses with Alice, a foreign correspondent with a particular interest in Cobalt – the latest blood mineral being mined in the DRC. But will their budding friendship threaten the safety that Kasambayi has so carefully built for them in London?

Meanwhile Alice Seeley-Harris, a Victorian Missionary’s wife in King Leopold’s Congo has a horrible sense that history is repeating itself.

Possession is a tale about desire. About owning and being owned. About colonising and being colonised. And ultimately about the power of the spirit to escape oppression.

Content warnings: child birth, sexual content, discussions of sexual violence against women, discussions of generational trauma, historical photography of amputated body parts.

Praise for Possession

★★★★★ “Sasha Hails’ script is brave and confident”The Spy in The Stalls

★★★★ “A Tennessee Williams-ish memory play merged with more modern, pulsating poetry, it is nimble, playful storytelling with tragedy brewing below, the joyous electricity always a second from fizzling away.”The Stage

★★★★ “A rich play bursting with ideas”The Reviews Hub

★★★★ “Undoubtedly a story worth seeing, and the Arcola Theatre a truly wonderful place in which to do so.”Everything Theatre