A Scholar and A Statesman tells the enthralling true story of a young boy
who dared to dream…and James Arthur Harley dreamed big, leaving his
island home of Antigua in the 1890s to navigate the double complexities of
oppressive racism in America and England with grace, style and dignity
to achieve an esteemed education and his childhood ambition, but at
A story of Empire, Education, Elitism and the Church of England.
Written and produced by Pamela Roberts and directed by Carol Leeming
Two successful staged readings of A Scholar and A Statesman were held in May and June 2017, at the Cope Auditorium, University of Loughborough, and the Attenborough Arts Centre, the University of Leicester.
In November, financially supported by the High Commission of Antigua and Barbuda, a London showcase of A Scholar and A Statesman was produced and staged at Bolivar Hall, Fitzrovia, London. At the event, Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill, High Commissioner Antigua and Barbuda said:
Antigua and Barbuda celebrate thirty-six years of independence this year, and it is fitting that we are here this evening to see A Scholar and A Statesman, a play about the life of James Arthur Harley, an Antiguan who embodied the spirit and ethos of independence throughout his life and career.
I would like to thank everyone who worked diligently with me in enabling the production, especially my staff at the High Commission, the staff of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, the Venezuelan Ambassador, and the staff of Bolivar Hall.
Finally, I would like to congratulate Pamela Roberts for bringing one of Antigua and Barbuda’s forgotten sons to the attention of many. As a graduate of Oxford University myself, it is my hope that this story will inspire millions in years to come with its beautiful, unique message.
The cast of A Scholar and A Statesman
From left to right: Mumba Dodwell, Prince Poxley, Chris Lines, Corey Trevor, Matt Pirie - Smith, Lola May and William Hayes with Pamela Roberts, writer and producer, and Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill, High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda.
The evening was a triumph in so many ways from start to finish! The classy venue and gracious hosts were an early sign of quality, but then the actual artistic offering delivered big time. The quality of your writing, rich in insights, nuanced observations, dramatic tension, and utterly engaging characters. Some great casting drove it home with power. And then the delightful experience of being able to talk to some of the cast and your broader creative network. I’ve never experienced quite such a vivid theatrical experience at a rehearsed reading. It was as satisfying an experience as any in recent times, and we’ve seen a few quality offerings of late. We’re so delighted to have been there to share it. Looking forward to the full production very much' .
Robert Taylor and Dr Tristram Wyatt.