The Amen Corner


The Amen Corner

Full-Length Play, Drama  /  9w, 5m

James Baldwin's first play, about the female pastor of a Harlem church in 1954, grapples with issues of racism, poverty, and the role of the church in the lives of Black Americans.

Image: 2013 National Theatre Production (Tristram Kenton)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    9w, 5m
  • SubGenre
  • Audience
    Target Audience
  • Nominee: 2014 Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play



After giving a fiery Sunday morning sermon, Harlem pastor Margaret Alexander is confronted by the unexpected arrival of her long-estranged husband Luke, who collapses from illness shortly thereafter. Luke tells their son David and several elders of the congregation that he had not abandoned his family years ago; it was in fact Margaret who had left Luke to pursue a religious life. Margaret, Luke, David and the congregation clash over the perceived hypocritical nature of Margaret's religious convictions and the breakup of her family.

After an important conversation with his dying father, David tells Margaret he is leaving home to pursue his calling as a jazz musician. On his deathbed, Luke tells Margaret he has always loved her, and she should not have left him. Margaret’s congregation decides to oust her, believing she unjustly ruined her own family in the name of religion. After losing her son, her husband, and her congregation, Margaret realizes she should not have used religion as an excuse to escape life's struggles, declaring, ‘‘To love the Lord is to love all His children—all of them, every one!—and suffer with them and rejoice with them and never count the cost!’’

MARGARET ALEXANDER - Pastor of the church
ODESSA - Margaret's older sister
IDA JACKSON - a young woman
SISTER MOORE - elder of the church
SISTER BOXER - elder of the church
BROTHER BOXER - elder of the church
DAVID - Margartet's 18 year-old son
LUKE - her husband
SISTER SALLY - member of the congregation
SISTER DOUGLAS - member of the congregation
SISTER RICE - member of the congregation
BROTHER DAVIS - member of the congregation
BROTHER WASHINGTON - member of the congregation

  • Time Period Contemporary
  • Setting The church and home of Margaret Alexander in Harlem.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes


“Hypnotically epic... groundbreaking... The story of a Harlem preacher — Black and female — navigating challenges to her faith, family and ministry, illuminate[s] a timelessly riveting struggle.” – The Washington Post

“The characters are honestly observed, and the lines have wings and humor.” –  The New York Daily News

“Truth, vividness and rich humanity.” –  The New York Post


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  • The Amen Corner

    Image: 2013 National Theatre Production (Tristram Kenton)


  • Musical Style N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal DemandsN/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size N/A (Not a musical)

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.


Available Formats:


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James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York City, on Aug. 2, 1924 and died on Nov. 30, 1987. He offered a vital literary voice during the era of civil rights activism in the 1950s and '60s. The eldest of nine children, his stepfather was a minister. At age 14, Baldwin b ...

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