Plays for Performance - (1 female) - Josephine and I

A genuine tour de force for a strong female actor, Josephine and I is a moving and historically-fueled piece that links the past to the present.

From the ragtime rhythms of St Louis and the intoxicating sounds of 1920s Paris to present-day London, Josephine and I intertwines the story of a modern-day girl with that of one of the greatest - yet forgotten - stars of the twentieth century, Josephine Baker – jazz sensation, political activist and international icon. Using live music and dance, playwright and actor Cush Jumbo brings to life the contemporary legacy of “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw” (Ernest Hemingway).

Jumbo invites a single actor to perform not only as the two main women in the play but to embody every single voice – from parent to reporter and even the audience. An ambitious actor will welcome the challenge to be the sole performer on stage and transform herself from character to character in front of an audience rather than backstage.

Josephine and I premiered at the Bush Theatre, London in 2013.

'An exploration of the difference a black woman can make - now as well as  then - and, incidentally, a celebration of the power of theatre to tell  the human story . . . sensational . . . Shocks, surprises and political points are deftly popped in among the laughter and the glitz.' – Stage

To apply for non-professional performance rights, please contact

GenreDrama; Play with music
Cast1 female
SetA cabaret-style nightclub
Length50 pages; 1 act; approx. 1 hour 30 minutes
Fee£75 + VAT per performance
Script£9.99 RRP (deals available for multiple purchases)

Buy the Script


Daddy You smash one more plate like that, woman!

One more piece of crockery, one more!

Like things ain’t bad enough without you breaking up every single thing we have.

Mama Don’t you dare talk to me about no damn crockery when you’re the one smashing our family to pieces!

With your cheating and your gambling and your damn fancy women! Prostitutes! Whores!

One woman’s not good enough for you, huh?

Three children ain’t good enough for you, huh?

Daddy Shut your mouth, woman, or I will shut it for you –

Mama Don’t you dare tell me what to do!

Daddy Stop that noise, woman, I’m warning you –

Mama He’s warning me? He’s warning me? What you gonna –

Josephine No, Daddy! No, Daddy! Stop, Daddy! STOP!

And he did.

He stopped coming home. Never again

He’s just waiting for my dancing to get real good before he comes back. Ain’t he, Mama?

But now Mama’s drinking.

And now we’re arguing.

And now we’re saying things.

And now we’re –

What do you mean, that Daddy loves me more than he loves you, Mama?

Mama There are too many women in this house, Tumpie.

All his worse parts, that’s what you are.

I’m sick of carrying you.

Carrying you and seeing him.

Get out of my sight and grow up.

Time to grow up, because this is life – Josephine.

Josephine And I’m thinking, she’s right.

I’m thinking, I better leave.

I’m thinking ‘cause if I don’t?

I’m gonna kill her.