Abolition and Freedom

An Interactive Performance Workshop for Secondary Schools

Tor Theatre created Abolition and Freedom in 2007 to help mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Since then, it as been booked by schools across five counties and, due to its continuing success, will be available again throughout 2012/13.

The slave trade had an immense effect on both the culture and heritage of our country, and savery still exists in many forms today. By looking at the history of slavery and the struggle for abolition we can all learn valuable lessons on how we live our lives today, and how to truly make slavery a practice of the past.

Performance and Workshop

15 Minute Performance: An actor plays William Wilberforce as he speaks to the House of Commons. Students are brought into the role-play as his audience of MPs, and are not given an easy ride by a very combative Mr Wilberforce!

Q and A Session: Still in role as Wilberforce, the actor answers questions 'from the house'. This is a chance for the students to actively enter the role-play by asking any questions they may have on Wilberforce's speech or indeed any other aspects of the subject.

Interactive Workshop: The workshop is used both to further illustrate points made in Wilberforce's speech, and to bring the themes of freedom and slavery up to the present day. Students are used to put human faces to statistics and are asked to read out contemporary accounts of slavery. They are encouraged to discuss the courage that was needed to stand up to the slave traders in Wilberforce's era, and the steps that we can all take to try to make a difference today.


  • To teach students about the history of the abolition movement and the lives of the activists involved, including those of William Wilberforce, Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Clarkson.
  • To describe the workings of the Triangular Trade route and its economic impact on the British Empire.
  • To highlight the plight of slaves: from capture to journey across the Atlantic (the Middle Passage) and life in the colonies (plantation life).
  • To Emphasise the importance of human rights and the plight of slaves today, many of which are children.
  • To promote the idea of cultural and economic freedom, including Fair Trade across the world.
  • To celebrate deversity and equality in all communities.


Numbers:   Up to 100 students.

Age Range:   Ideal for Year 8 upwards.

Set-up Time:   The actor will arrive 30 minutes before the start of the performance.

Running Time:   1 hour.

Location:   School hall, auditorium or large class room. All students should be seated.


Please contact Tor Theatre for details of prices.

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