Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley



March 15 - April 8

Tue - Fri @ 7:30pm

Sat @ 2:30pm, 7:30pm

Stone Nest 

136 Shaftesbury Avenue

London, W1D 5EZ



Adapted & Directed by
Christopher McElroen

Produced by Erica Laird

Teagle F. Bougere (Baldwin)
Eric T. Miller (Buckley)

Tom Kiteley (Burford/UK)

Christopher Wareham (Heycock/UK)

Video design, Adam J. Thompson

Artist in residence, Jaymes Jorsling - US

Marketing manager, Robyn Sunderland

Press: Everyman Agency

Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley NYC 5 Borough Tour played at Harlem Stage and Staten Island's Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art in March, 2023. Brooklyn's Old Stone House and Queens Theatre in October, 2022. In-person performances premiered at Brooklyn's South Oxford Space in March-April, 2022. It was originally produced in 2020 and broadcast in partnership with BRIC.

“Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?”

This was the topic on February 18, 1965 when an overflow crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to bear witness to a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual.

The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. This historic clash reveals the deep roots and lasting legacy of racial conflict that continues to haunt America.

The objective of the american vicarious in restaging this historic debate is not to inhabit such monumental figures as James Baldwin or William F. Buckley, their shoes are too large to fill. Rather, our objective is to simply place their words, which still resonate 58 years later, within the voice of contemporary artists.


“With his slick-backed hair and eyeballing of the audience, Eric T. Miller revels in Buckley’s suave sophistry.” - The Times ⭐️⭐️⭐️

“This is Teagle F. Bougere’s show though. He gives an absolutely riveting performance as Baldwin.” - The Stage ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Eric T. Miller’s performance as Buckley is quietly chilling." - The Stage ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Christopher Wareham and Tom Kiteley channel trembling earnestness and cocksure confidence respectively as a pair of Cambridge undergraduates.” - The Stage ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

"Teagle F. Bougere is fantastic as Baldwin, softly spoken, calm and intellectual at first but becoming increasingly impassioned as his time wears on." - The Reviews Hub ⭐️⭐️⭐️

"Eric T. Miller captures Buckley’s charisma ... revelling in the platform the debate gives him." - The Reviews Hub ⭐️⭐️⭐️


"My best recommendation for the week is actually a play made with almost nothing — just bodies, in a room, with one staticky television set occasionally playing a clip." "Bougere (Baldwin) makes the production unmissable!" – Vulture

"Highbrow/Brilliant" The Approval Matrix, New York Magazine

"the american vicarious gives audiences a palpable sense of the electricity, animosity, and history coursing through the room." – TheaterMania

"It's not theater for the faint-hearted. What it is, however, is an engaging, exciting, and endlessly thought-provoking recreation of a watershed moment for American civil rights." – Stage Buddy