An educational pamphlet on the Caribbean-British actor, singer and activist Pearl Prescod – the first Black female player to join the prestigious National Theatre company.
Produced by the Institute of Race Relation’s Black History Collection, the pamphlet charts Prescod’s life from her beginnings in Tobago to her arrival in London on a Guildhall music scholarship before embarking on a successful acting career.
A talented cabaret singer and committed activist, in 1963, Prescod marched alongside Claudia Jones to the US embassy to coincide with the historic Martin Luther King march on Washington, leading the singing of the civil rights anthem ‘We Shall Overcome’. She would later feature in an award-winning civil rights stage show for television, Freedom Road: Songs of Negro Protest.
Prescod’s big break came in 1965 when she appeared at the Old Vic as Tituba in Laurence Olivier’s production of Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’. Prescod was amongst a cast of actors who went on to illustrious careers, including Sir Michael Gambon and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Just a year after her appearance at the National, Pearl’s blossoming career was tragically cut short when she passed away after suffering a brain haemorrhage, aged just 46.