Coffee (Under development)

A conspiracy by Muslims to chemically alter the colour and creed of Britain or driver of intellectual and industrial revolution? Coffee is Restoration meets the 1001 nights.

Our forthcoming production explores the introduction of coffee to Britain in the 17th century. The play will portray the hostility, fear and hysteria with which ‘the Mohametan Berry’ or ‘the abominable liquor of infidels’ was initially received by large sections of British society and chart the beverage’s journey to popularity and the socio-cultural changes that were generated from the ‘dens of sedition’ as the new coffee-houses were then called by opposition movements. These movements included breweries, religious institutions and royalty.

The play will also explore in parallel the way in which coffee provoked controversy in the Muslim world through the cultural and legalistic debates that took place at the time concerning whether or not coffee was a lawful substance given its effects upon the mind and body. The play is intended to mirror and contribute to global contemporary discourse on change, difference and otherness and the culture and politics of fear through the metaphor of the story of coffee, the second most traded commodity in the world.