I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Listen to a sample

What to expect

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.

Cast:
Narrator (Older Maya)…Adjoa Andoh
Maya…Indie Gjedsal/Pippa Bennett-Warner
Bailey…Roshawn Hewitt
Momma…Cecilia Noble
Uncle Willie/Freeman/Daddy…Richard Pepple
Steward/Lawyer…John Lightbody
Girl…Francesca Elise
Mother…Ellen Thomas
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
Receptionist…Lauren Cornelius

Dramatised by Patricia Cumper
Produced by Pauline Harris

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