Set in New York in 1821 and based on historical events, The African Company Presents Richard III follows two competing theatre companies performing Shakespeare’s Richard III. The African Company, the first African American theatre troupe in the United States, has announced its production of Richard III. A rival white producer has imported a renowned English actor for the same role and fears competition from the increasingly popular African Company. With the aid of trumped up charges (and an easily swayed constable) the rival producer shuts down the African Company’s theatre, inspiring the troupe to move their production right next door to the rival impresario’s theatre. A mighty clash of wills ensues, and the pitting of passion against societal mores explodes in riots in the streets of New York City. Members of the African Company fight to overturn the barriers of slavery, race and immigrant status barring them from freedom, at a time when America supposedly welcomed the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.