Outpouring of Love: Admirers Rally Behind Targeted Actress

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers faced online targeting following her casting as Juliet alongside Tom Holland in an upcoming production. The condemnation of this abuse was eloquently expressed in an open letter co-authored by actress Susan Wokoma and writer Somalia Nonyé Seaton. Notably, signatories including Ambika Mod, Lolly Adefope, and Chinenye Ezeudu stood in solidarity against such reprehensible behavior.

The Jamie Lloyd Company, the production’s theater company, swiftly denounced the “deplorable” abuse Francesca endured since her casting announcement. Despite this adversity, Francesca’s upcoming role in the stage adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet marks a significant milestone in her career, as it will be her West End debut.

Susan Wokoma, known for her recent appearance in Taskmaster, emphasized Francesca’s immense talent and the importance of celebrating her casting. The letter highlighted the all-too-familiar experience of racial and misogynistic abuse faced by visible black performers like Francesca, with 883 individuals, predominantly black female and non-binary actors, signing in solidarity.

Furthermore, the letter and accompanying petition, signed by over 6,000 individuals, called upon the production company to provide adequate support to Francesca in the face of such hostility. It echoed a recurrent theme in the industry, where black artists often lack sufficient support when confronting racism and misogyny.

The Jamie Lloyd Company responded with a firm commitment to support and protect its cast, ensuring they can create without facing online harassment. This stance was welcomed by the letter’s authors, who aimed to send a clear message of solidarity and recognition to Francesca and all black women performers enduring similar abuses.

As the stage production, set to run from May 11th to August 3rd, approaches, the support for Francesca remains steadfast. Additionally, this production marks a notable milestone as it will be Tom Holland’s first appearance on stage as an adult, generating significant anticipation and already selling out tickets.