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The Unforgotten


The Unforgotten is a free interactive art installation which participates in and contributes to the ongoing conversation within the Black Lives Matter movement regarding whose image we uphold and elevate, offering our community an alternative view of leadership.

This interactive art piece adorning the Young Vic building features statues commemorating three trailblazers of the Black community: Mary Seacole, a British-Jamaican businesswoman who set up the ‘British Hotel’ behind the lines during the Crimean War, Marsha P. Johnson, an advocate and activist for LGBTQ+ rights and Ulric Cross, a Trinidadian diplomat, RAF navigator, legal visionary and most decorated black serviceman of World War II.

Created by artists Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and Anna Fleischle, the Young Vic community were invited to contribute to the installation by submitting their own nominations in writing on the side of the building and online in response to provocations written by Jennifer Akre, asking us all to (re)consider who we celebrate as our heroes. In doing so, The Unforgotten typifies the Young Vic’s mission of speaking to the present moment and continually catalysing debate beyond our four walls.

The Unforgotten is also a year-long online conversation with our community. Each month we will use a specific theme as a way of amplifying Black heroes whose contributions should be remembered and celebrated. From military heroes, to LGBTQ+ trailblazers, to academics, artists and activists, we want this year to help us all to establish a new way of selecting and celebrating our icons and heroes. We believe learning about black history need not be confined to just one month of the year.

The Unforgotten is generously supported by The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and an anonymous donor.

Image: Portrait of Mary Seacole courtesy of Winchester College and the Mary Seacole Trust

Mary Seacole

(Kingston, Jamaica, 1805 – London, 1881)

Mary Seacole's eventful life and her contributions to nursing make her one of the 19th century's most remarkable women – even if her story had been largely ignored for more than a century. Voted the Greatest Black Briton in 2004, she combined a lifelong devotion to caring for the sick with extraordinary entrepreneurship.

After working as a nurse in Central America's cholera outbreaks of the 1850s, Seacole offered her nursing expertise to the British army in the Crimean War, but saw her services rejected on racial grounds. Undeterred, she travelled to the frontline of her own accord, where she proved vital for both medical care and morale.

Read More

Image: Portrait of Mary Seacole courtesy of Winchester College and the Mary Seacole Trust
Image: Marsha P. Johnson © Netflix/courtesy of Everett Collection Inc & Alamy Stock Photo.

Marsha P. Johnson

(Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1945 – New York, 1992)

Marsha P. Johnson's gay, trans and AIDS activism, and her drag performance career make her a defining figure in the LGBTQ+ rights movement of the 20th century – as well as an international icon. A Stonewall Riots participant, Johnson became a recognizable presence at the burgeoning LGBTQ+ liberation marches of the 1970s in her unique, flower-adorned outfits. She established a shelter for gay and trans youth and continued her activism in the 1980s in support of people living with AIDS. To this day, her activism, her performances, and her style intrigue and inspire.

Read More 

Image: Marsha P. Johnson © Netflix/courtesy of Everett Collection Inc & Alamy Stock Photo.
Portrait of Ulric Cross by Ean Flanders.

Ulric Cross

(Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 1917 - 2013)

Nicknamed 'The Black Hornet,' Ulric Cross was a highly distinguished officer in the Royal Air Force during World War Two. His involvement in an elite Bomber Command unit over occupied Europe led him to become one of the most decorated West Indians of the Second World War.

Cross' subsequent, eminent career took him to three continents, spanned the rest of the 20th century, and was as varied as it was long: as a scholar and justice, Cross contributed to the legal systems in several newly independent African nations. He served his native Trinidad and Tobago in a range of diplomatic roles. And he became the face of a charity helping the most disadvantaged communities in his homeland.

Read More

Image: Portrait of Ulric Cross © Ean Flanders.




    Organisations to explore and support

    Mary Seacole Trust

    The Mary Seacole Trust wants British society to become fairer, more inclusive and more harmonious. They promote Mary Seacole and her life to inspire and encourage people to be compassionate, entrepreneurial and hard working. 


    Marsha P. Johnson Institute

    The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) protects and defends the human rights of BLACK transgender people. They do this by organising, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting their collective power.


    Cotton Tree Foundation

    The Cotton Tree Foundation is a charity co-founded by Ulric Cross in 1993 to support, through education, the life chances of Trinidadians in some of the country’s most disadvantaged areas. It focuses predominantly on tackling poverty and unemployment among young adults.

    Black Lives Matter

    #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.


    Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK)

    A coalition of black activists and organisers across the UK guided by a commitment to dismantle imperialism, capitalism, white-supremacy, patriarchy and the state structures that disproportionately harm black people in Britain and around the world.


    UK Black Pride

    Europe’s largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQ people.


    The Black Curriculum

    A social enterprise founded in 2019 by young people to address the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum. They believe that by delivering arts focused Black history programmes, providing teacher training and campaigning through mobilising young people, we can facilitate social change.

    Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC)

    The UK’s largest anti-racism educational charity. They aim to combat racism through enabling role models, who are predominately but not exclusively footballers, to present an anti-racist message to young people and others.


    Black History Month

    An online platform celebrating Black History Arts and Culture throughout the UK.


    Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC)

    An organisation cultivating economic opportunities and affirming spaces for trans people of color and their families, to foster kinship, build community engage in healing and restorative justice through arts, culture, media, advocacy and activism. 

    Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

    The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust is a national educational charity committed to the advancement of social justice; the alleviation of poverty and community cohesion.


    Shades of Noir

    Shades of Noir provokes, challenges and encourages dialogue through its programme of activities on the subject of race within Art, Design &Higher Education


    Black Cultural Archives

    The only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK and to inspire and give strength to individuals, communities and society.

    Got a recommendation for this list? Get in touch @YoungVicTheatre #YVUnforgotten


  • READ


    A non-exhaustive list of some of our favourite books 

    Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole (1857)

    So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (2019)

    Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad (2020)

    Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis (2016) 

    Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis (1983)

    Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (2017)

    Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch (2018)

    Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga (2017)

    Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (2019)

    Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Hill Collins (2008)

    Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks (1987)

    Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde (2019)

    Biased by Jennifer Eberhardt (2019)

    Beloved by Toni Morrison (2007)

    Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala (2018)

    What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young (2019)

    Collected Essays - Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (1998)

    Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)

    Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power by Mark Godfrey & Zoe Whitley (2017)


    And here's a list of independent bookshops where you can discover more books and writers:


    Got a recommendation for this list? Get in touch @YoungVicTheatre #YVUnforgotten



    A non-exhaustive list of films and TV programmes to learn more about these issues and become a better ally:

    'Hear Us... a Digital Zine... Time to Listen' a YV Taking Part response to The Unforgotten (available on YouTube)

    The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson’ a documentary by David France (available on Netflix)

    Pay It No Mind – The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson’ a documentary by Michael Kasino (available for free on YouTube)

    HERO: Inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Mr. Ulric Cross’ directed and produced by Frances-Anne Solomon (visit the official website)

    The Life of Mary Seacole’ by BBC Teach, providing classroom resources around black history, heritage, culture and achievements (available on the BBC Teach website

    13th’ a documentary by Ava DuVernay (available on Netflix)

    ‘When They See Us’ a mini-series created, co-written and directed by Ava DuVernay (available on Netflix)

    What Matters’ an online documentary series by Black Lives Matter (available online)

    Why Black Lives Matter NOW’ TEDX talk by Ellis Fearon (aged 14) (available on YouTube)

    'The difference between being "not racist" and antiracist' TED talk by Ibram X. Kendi (available on YouTube)


    Got a recommendation for this list? Get in touch @YoungVicTheatre #YVUnforgotten



    A non-exhaustive list of some of our favourite podcasts about race and racism:

    About Race’, A podcast by Reni Eddo-Lodge the author behind the bestselling book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.

     ‘Windrush Stories’, a collection of full-length interviews from members of 'the Windrush Generation'.

    Blacticulate, featuring young UK Black professionals discussing how they do what they do, so you can too.

    Code Switch’ a podcast by NPR, hosted by journalists of colour tackling the subject of race head-on.

    The Stoop - Hosts Leila Day and Hana Baba start conversations about what it means to be black and how we talk about blackness.

    Speaking of Racism’ a podcast dedicated to frank, honest, and respectful discussions about racism in the U.S.


    Got a recommendation for this list? Get in touch @YoungVicTheatre #YVUnforgotten


About the installation



    'During these very turbulent times, the Young Vic would normally be the epicentre of debate in London and within our community. Intellectuals and thinkers would be commandeered into our YV ID series of Town Halls to discuss civic responsibility around BLM and to question and engage with the statues being torn down. At the YV we are set up to be a catalyst for debate on subjects that really matter to our nation and the world and so it is painful to us to be away from audiences, artists and the public. Therefore, whilst we are away from our building we wanted to commission an art installation that rather than speak to what to should be removed, engages with what monuments could be newly elevated. We wanted to animate our own ‘dormant’ building with a piece of work that engages the world at large through an interactive element at ground level, and places these outsize heroes on our balcony and external walls, offering an alternative vision of leadership' - Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director.




    Anna Fleischle
    Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey

    Performance Designers. Artists. Storytellers. 

    Sadeysa and Anna came together as Londoners and World Citizen provoked by who history remembers - and why. 



    Installation Build by Blackfriars Staging and Rigging Team

    Image Credits:

    • Original portrait of Mary Seacole courtesy of Winchester College and the Mary Seacole Trust.
    • Original Victorian carte-de-visite photograph of Mary Seacole © Amoret Tanner / Alamy Stock Photo.
    • Original photograph of Marsha P. Johnson © Netflix/courtesy of Everett Collection Inc & Alamy Stock Photo.
    • Original portrait of Ulric Cross courtesy of Ean Flanders.


    The Unforgotten is generously supported by The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and an anonymous donor.

    The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch)

    The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is an international charitable foundation based in Portugal, with offices in London and Paris. It acts in the fields of arts, social welfare, education and science. Based in London, the UK Branch is focused on building coalitions to tackle complex global problems. It looks ahead, thinking globally and acting locally, to create the conditions for change by connecting across borders of all kinds – national, cultural, organisational, disciplinary and social. The UK Branch prioritises the vulnerable and underserved in the UK and elsewhere.