by Penfold Theatre Company

Jun. 23 - Jul. 08, 2023

In this world-premiere production, playwright Jarrett King (A War of the Worlds, The Possible, Perfect Profile) shines a spotlight on one of history’s most overlooked and underappreciated folk heroes, Henry Box Brown. Born into slavery, Brown is best known for mailing himself to freedom from Virginia to Pennsylvania in a box three feet long and two feet wide. This harrowing journey—undertaken after his wife, Nancy, was sold to a far off plantation—saw Brown arriving in the north a free man, and becoming equally well known for his abolitionist lectures as his work as one of America’s earliest professional magicians.

Box, one of few theatrical explorations of Brown’s life, will focus on his journey as a magician and lecturer in England, where he relocated after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act in the United States. There, Brown married Jane, a white English teacher, and found great success in the seemingly more progressive British society. Though, as Box depicts, Henry was not free from the threat of recapture, nor thoughts of Nancy, whom he never saw again.

Through extensive use of magic, and adapting portions of Brown’s act to the stage, Box imagines an unwritten chapter in his story—one in which Nancy finds Brown in England, and he encounters portions of his own history that he has worked hard to distance himself from. With two wives, and two lives, hanging in the balance, will Henry Box Brown once again pull off the impossible?

Review by Bob Abelman for the Austin Chronicle, June 28, 2023

Review by Joni Lorraine for Austin Broadway World, July 13, 2023

Casting includes Jeremey Rashad Brown as Henry “Box” Brown, Yunina Barbour-Payne as Nancy, Lee Eden as Jane, Robert Matney as Lord Bloomfield/Ensemble, Amy McAndrew as Lady Bloomfield/Ensemble, Chelsea Manasseri as Pearl/Ensemble, and Cameron La Brie as Rodgers/Ensemble.

Written by Jarrett King and directed by Simone Alexander the production team includes Costume Design by Pam Friday, Sound Design by Anthony Williams, Lighting Design by Jacqueline Sindelar, Set and Properties Design by Desi Roybal with Brad Henderson as Magic Consultant, Beau Harris as Technical Director, Val Johnson as Stage Manager and Carl Gonzales as Production Manager.


*Second of five world premieres in the Penfold’s play commission series.


by Jarrett King
Penfold Theatre Company

June 23 - July 08, 2023
unspecified in Texas
Somewhere, TX, 00000

June 23 – July 8, 2023 on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 5:00 pm.

Performances will be at Ground Floor Theatre, 979 Springdale Rd #122, Austin, TX 78702.

Special Event for Box:

·        Saturday, June 24: First Saturday Soiree

Celebrate opening weekend with the cast and creative team. When purchasing tickets, you may reserve a place for this event.