A BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Maya Angelou's poignant, powerful autobiography, starring Adjoa Andoh, Indie Gjesdal and Pippa Bennett-Warner.
Abandoned by their parents, Maya and her older brother Bailey are sent to live with their grandmother and uncle in the small Southern town of Stamps in Arkansas. Struggling with rejection, they endure the prejudice of their white neighbours and suffer several racist incidents.
One day, their father unexpectedly returns and takes the children to live with their mother in St Louis, Missouri. Aged only eight, Maya is abused by her mother's boyfriend, an experience that haunts her for a lifetime. Filled with guilt and shame, she refuses to speak to anyone except Bailey – until she meets Mrs Bertha Flowers, who encourages her love of books, helping her to find her voice and regain her own strong spirit.
Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic, beloved worldwide, which recounts a youth filled with curiosity, wonder, disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and hard-won independence. This radio dramatisation, starring Adjoa Andoh, Indie Gjesdal and Pippa Bennett-Warner, plays out her extraordinary story with dramatic verve and poetic brilliance.
Narrator (Older Maya)...Adjoa Andoh
Maya...Indie Gjedsal/Pippa Bennett-Warner
Uncle Willie/Freeman/Daddy...Richard Pepple
Bertha Flowers...Nikki Amuka-Bird
Spanish voices... Maider Jáuregui, Rocío Mesonero, Celia Romo, Julio Villa-García, Hugo Sánchez and Francisco Oda-Ángel @ Instituto Cervantes,Manchester
Dramatised by Patricia Cumper
Produced by Pauline Harris
Six BBC Radio 4 dramatisations of Maya Angelou's evocative, extraordinary memoirs, starring Adjoa Andoh and Pippa Bennett-Warner
The books that make up the life and times of Maya Angelou are among the most beautiful and haunting pieces of autobiography ever written. Joyous, direct and searingly honest, they run the gamut from life-affirming to tragic, and back again.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings charts Maya’s childhood in the Deep South in the 1930s; while Gather Together In My Name recounts her descent into prostitution and narcotics. Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas sees her forging a career in showbusiness, and in The Heart of a Woman, she moves to New York and becomes involved in civil rights. All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes explores her time in Ghana during the 1960s, and in A Song Flung up to Heaven, she returns to America to work with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. When tragedy strikes, her friend James Baldwin helps her out of her devastation – and new opportunities beckon for Maya.
Angelou’s memoirs have become modern classics, beloved worldwide, and these stunning dramatisations illuminate her incredible resilience, creativity and power, painting an extraordinary portrait of 20th century black America.