Nia Akilah Robinson's The Great Privation Premieres in London

Beginning its world premiere run this week at London’s Theatre503, Nia Akilah Robinson’s (22) MacDowell-supported drama, The Great Privation (How to flip ten cents into a dollar), is about the role of grave robbers in supplying cadavers of Black people for medical research in 19th century America – with timelines in both the past and present.

Nia finished a draft of the new play in MacDowell’s Mansfield Studio in the winter of 2022, before going on to become a 2023 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award Finalist. The work is now earning plaudits in Time Out London and The Guardian, the latter of which hailed it as a “bold new play” about Black bodies denied rest even in death.

During the lead up to the premiere, Nia appeared at Black Cultural Archives, London, where she’s pictured in the image above (Zena Tuitt-Collins photo), for a reading from and conversation about the play with members of its cast and creative team. The play itself was also published in the UK this May by Concord Theatricals!

For New Yorkers: Coming in June, another one of Nia’s plays will premiere in a The Hearth production at Theaterlab. Mark your calendars for Push Party’s opening on June 7!

Read about other new works supported by MacDowell Fellowships.

Search for the #MadeAtMacDowell tag on social media to see a history of MacDowell-supported works.

on the left: The poster for the play "THE GREAT PRIVATION (How to flip ten cents into a dollar)," by Nia Akilah Robinson. It features the title in magenta and a portrait of two Black women, one of whom is looking at the camera.; on the right: A person holds a microphone and sits in a high chair talking towards an audience. The person is playwright Nia Akilah Robinson.

The poster for the Theatre503 production of Nia Akilah Robinson’s (22) MacDowell-supported play, The Great Privation (How to flip ten cents into a dollar), left (Adiam Yemane photo), and the playwright herself at Black Cultural Archives, London, in May 2024 (Zena Tuitt-Collins photo). Images courtesy Theatre503.