Tuesday 5th – Saturday 16th June 2018, 7:30 PM @ The Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN

Written by Alex Webb, Cafe Society Swing: The Live Show is an acclaimed production which tells the true story of the first racially integrated jazz club in New York – Cafe Society, which opened in December 1938.

One of the first American venues to treat the great black artists of the era with dignity and respect, the club was the launch pad for Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan and many others.

Full of swinging jazz, blues, gospel and bebop, Cafe Society Swing live show follows the venue’s thrilling struggles and triumphs to its eventual demise in America’s ‘Red Scare’ of the late 1940s.

Billie Holiday was one of the first headliners at the club and it was at Cafe Society that club owner Barney Josephson presented her with the classic protest lyric Strange Fruit– which became her signature song. Holiday was afraid to sing this new song, a song that tackled racial hatred head-on at a time when ‘protest music’ was all but unknown. “There wasn’t even a patter of applause when I finished,” she wrote later. The famed songwriter EY Harburg called Strange Fruit a “historic document”. The jazz writer Leonard Feather said it was “the first significant protest in words and music, the first un-muted cry against racism


  • Venue: Main House
  • Time: 7.30 Pm (matinee Saturday 9th & 16th June, 2.30 PM)
  • Price: From £10
  • Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes including interval

Cafe Society Swing: The Live Show is produced by Lateralize Ltd in association with the Copasetic Foundation. Media Partner Jazz FM

For more information go to: Stratford East