Lydia’s emotive tale of nation’s birth to show in Dagenham

The Darkest of Victory

The Darkest of Victory - Credit: Archant

»The first Kenyan play in east London arrives at ­Dagenham’s Castle Green tonight.

The Darkest Hours of Victory ­coincides with the 50th anniversary of Kenyan independence last year, telling the saga of colonial Kenya.

The Mau Mau uprising and the subsequent genocide of Kenyans are portrayed in a play that, writer Lydia Tett Olet says, aims to tell a balanced story.

The production follows the viewpoint of the Kenyan struggle and the British opinion at the time, both in support and in condemnation of the colonised.

Lydia said: “I just came back from Kenya where I went to do more research about the play and I spoke to the veterans. I wanted the play to be based on truth rather than just hearsay.”

Lydia was inspired to write a play with a sense of resolution and forgiveness at its core rather than showing two sides blaming each other.

She said: “The Mau Mau is a very sensitive topic and you can really get it wrong. There were so many stories on the internet and that was why I was inspired to go to Kenya to find out for myself.”

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The Darkest of Victory also portrays some rare moments in history like the emotional connection between the royal family and Kenya.

Lydia said: “I had to phone Buckingham Palace. In 1952 Queen Elizabeth’s father was to go the Commonwealth countries but he fell ill and she went in his place as the princess.

“When she was in Kenya she found out her dad had died. 58 years later there is a still a link between the British monarchy and Kenya; we need to see that as a special thing.”

Lydia added: “Prince William proposed to Kate in a cabin in a really remote part of Kenya. I wanted to ask, if the British were so bad, why was he proposing to his girlfriend there?

“I don’t want people leaving the theatre feeling sad, I want people leaving feeling happy.”

The performance at Castle Green, in Gale Street, Dagenham, starts at 6.30pm.

Tickets range from £15 to £10. Call 020 8858 9497 to book.