About Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Chicago, 1927. In a recording studio on the city’s South Side, a battle of wills is raging.

Ma Rainey, Mother of the Blues, uses every trick in the book to fight her record producers for control of her music. Hardened by years of ill-treatment and bad deals, she’s determined that ‘Black Bottom’, the song that bears her name, will be recorded her way.

But Levee, the band’s swaggering young trumpet player, plans to catapult the band into the jazz age. His ambition puts them all in danger.

Inspired by the real-life Blues legend and infused with her music, August Wilson’s play speaks powerfully of a struggle for self-determination against overwhelming odds.

Sharon D Clarke plays Ma Rainey.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Performance Dates & Times

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The Venue

Find out more about the venue for your show: Directions, Transport options and facilities.

Where is Ma Rainey's Black Bottom?

South Bank London SE1 9PX
  • Nearest Bus stop: (Waterloo Road) 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, RV1, X68
  • Parking: National Theatre, Upper Ground (1min)
  • Nearest Night Bus: (Waterloo Road) 139, 176, 188, 243, 341, N1, N68, N76, N171, N343
  • Nearest Tube: Waterloo & City, Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee
  • Directions:

    (10mins) Follow signs for exits to the South Bank. This should lead you to an underground pedestrian passage called ‘Sutton Walk’ that emerges at the South Bank. Turn right and walk along the river Thames until you see the National Theat

  • Nearest Station: Waterloo

Facilities

  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible