The Play

High quality, high octane physical theatre.

The Emperor Of America

Before the corruption of Capone’s Chicago, before the anarchy of Belle Epoque Paris, there was the city of vice that broke all the rules: 1860’s San Francisco, the Wildest West.
BreadKnives are diving head-first into one of the strangest and most unique moments in history at the very height of Victorian innovation, in the ruins of the California gold rush, where cowboys clash with mobsters, and poets duel in the streets, to bring back the real life story of America’s one and only Emperor, Joshua Norton.

Our play follows a character from history whose sense of mission and destiny were so strong that it enabled those around him to indulge in his fantasy. We draw from a multiplicity of real reports and fragments that record his life to capture the contradictory nature of the Mad Monarch of San Francisco.

With fearless physical theatre, live music and cabaret circus style, The Emperor of America resurrects his wild, tragicomic reign and the city he tried to tame.