The story of Esca Brooke Daykin continues to unfold, as Canadian Rajah continues to get productions, most recently in Peterborough, Ontario. In life, Esca never got the recognition he deserved - but now he is...
For a great article by Sam Tweedle in Kawartha Now - go here.
In 2019, the ballroom of Toronto's downtown historical gem, Campbell House, was the venue for the world premiere of Canadian Rajah. The production starred Barbara Worthy and Jon de Leon, and was directed by Sarah Phillips. The sold-out three week run began on January 30 and closed Sunday, February 17, 2019.
The story of Esca Brooke Daykin is one of the more bizarre chapters in Canadian history. It's a story that shouldn't have had a happy ending, but it did. Esca Brooke Daykin was the biracial eldest son of Charles Brooke, the legendary second 'White Rajah' of Sarawak (now part of Malaysia). Esca was born in 1867, the same year the Canada came into being. By rights, he should have been a third chapter in the tumultuous history of the White Rajahs of Sarawak. However, Rajah Brooke's second wife had her own ideas about this young claimant, and packed Esca off from Sarawak so that her own son might one day become Rajah...
Fast forward to Canada, and here is Esca, arriving with his adoptive parents in Madoc, deep in the backwoods of Ontario. This was where he began his Canadian journey. Esca would live, adapt, thrive, and become best friends (and eventually the right hand man) of one of the richest men in Canada. He married and had four children, and would have many grandchildren.
It should have been a recipe for happiness.
If only he could get the White Rajahs of Sarawak to recognize him...
Canadian Rajah is the incredible true story of Esca Brooke-Daykin. Until fairly recently it was also an unknown true story. But in 1996 Australian historian and author (and story sleuth!) Cassandra Pybus published her immensely readable history of the Brooke family, and their connection to Canada - The White Rajahs of Sarawak, published in Canada by Douglas and McIntyre.
The play has developed over the years, with the help of Esca's many descendants in Canada and, in particular, with the advice of Esca's two surviving granddaughters.