Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley
15 Mar – 15 Apr 2023

Stone Nest

Debate: Baldwin VS Buckley
Debate: Baldwin VS Buckley


Stone Nest and the american vicarious present

Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley
Adapted and directed by Christopher McElroen
Video and Graphics designed by Adam J Thompson

Described as one of the most compelling examples of political theatreDebate: Baldwin vs Buckley has announced an extension due to popular demand and is now booking until Saturday 15 April 2023

Following a critically acclaimed run in New York City, the american vicarious radically staged production opened to the press at London’s Stone Nest on Shaftesbury Avenue on 15 March and has garnered exceptional reviews and a high demand for tickets in the intimate setting of this former chapel.

Christopher McElroen directs this powerful and thought-provoking verbatim production of the historic clash between author and activist James Baldwin and conservative, political commentator William F. Buckley Jr in a co-production between Stone Nest and the american vicarious.

On 18 February 1965 James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement was invited to speak at the Cambridge University Union in a televised debate.  The motion was ‘The American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro’.  Opposing him was America’s most influential conservative intellectual William F Buckley Jr. 

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. The production frames the live staging with a video of the original debate and reveals, 58 years later, the deep roots and lasting legacy of racial conflict that continues to haunt America today.

Reprising their roles are Teagle F. Bougere (Broadway’s The Tempest with Patrick Stewart and Ivo Van Hove’s The Crucible) as Baldwin and Eric T. Miller as Buckley and joining them in the cast from the UK are Tom Kiteley and Christopher Wareham.

The company has been hosting a series of post-show talks (Tue, Wed, Fri and Sat. mat) with the actors and guest hosts where they have discussed what has changed, and what has remained the same, in the US and UK race relations since the original debate. And, why this debate is still relevant in both countries 58 years later.  Upcoming guest hosts include Kwame Kwei-Armah on Weds 5 April.

The running time is approximately 1 hour with no intervals.#

Stone Nest is an old building and unfortunately cannot currently accommodate electric wheelchairs. We can accommodate manually operated wheelchairs via a temporary ramp; please let us know that you are a wheelchair user when booking and whether a Companion will be accompanying you, and we will arrange a Companion ticket for you.

For press information and reviewing tickets please contact Clióna Roberts at 07754 756504 or e-mail   For images please go to

Listing Information
Stone Nest,
136 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London W1D 5EZ

Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2.30pm

BSL interpreted the performance 6th of April


Booking information
Tickets available from

Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley began as an artistic response to the 2020 uprisings following the murder of George Floyd and the polarizing 2020 U.S. Presidential election. The United States was navigating race while simultaneously debating, in a very uncivilized fashion, who its next leader should be. 

Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley was originally produced in October 2020 as a live-streamed event and broadcast in partnership with BRIC. Once live performances returned to New York, it was restaged for in-person performances and premiered March 5 – April 3, 2022, at the Great Room at the A.R.T./New York South Oxford Space in Brooklyn. 

Stone Nest
Stone Nest is an arts organisation and performance venue in the heart of London’s West End, bringing exceptional and experimental art to a wide audience. A hidden gem nestled amidst the bright lights of theatreland, it offers a platform for bold, visionary artists and a space where audiences can encounter an eclectic programme of contemporary performances.

This Grade II listed former Welsh Presbyterian church was built in 1888 by James Cubitt and is composed of a galleried central space with an umbrella dome, large basement, and attached manse. After many years at the heart of the London Welsh community, the chapel closed for worship in 1982. It was transformed into one of London’s most hedonistic and iconic nightclubs, the Limelight, in 1985. In 2003 the building became a Walkabout pub and following its closure in 2010 was subsequently squatted. In 2012 Stone Nest took over the long-neglected building with the aim of restoring it to its former beauty and creating a flexible, sustainable performance space. Facebook @StoneNestLDN – Twitter @StoneNest_LDN – Instagram @stonenest_ldn

the american vicarious
the american vicarious, under Artistic Director Christopher McElroen, Producing Director Erica Laird, and Marketing Manager Robyn Sunderland, was formally incorporated in 2018 and is committed to producing creative content across disciplinary boundaries that aspires to reflect on America’s ideals and realities, and which unites and divides its people.

Current projects include Debate: Baldwin vs. Buckley, Sherief Elkatsha’s award-winning documentary film, Far From the Nile, and Negative Liberty / Positive Liberty, a video installation exploring the dangers of political rhetoric. Recent projects include Gerald Clayton’s concert installation Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation, the world premiere of Shooting Celebrities, NY Times Critic’s Pick STATIC APNEA (2020), and the world premiere of Jaymes Jorsling’s (A)loft Modulation. Instagram @theamericanvicarious Facebook @theamvic

Cast Biographies
Teagle F. Bougere: Broadway appearances include The Tempest (Caliban) with Patrick Stewart, directed by George C. Wolfe; A Raisin In The Sun (Asagai) with Phylicia Rashad and The Crucible (Judge Hawthorne), directed by Ivo van Hove. Selected television and film include Law and Order S.V.U. a.d.a. Phillip Baptiste (recurring); Queen America (series regular) with Catherine Zeta-Jones; The BlacklistBullThe MistThe PathCosbyThe Big CThe JobA Gifted ManConvictionWhat The Deaf Man Heard;” eight episodes for the various Law and Order franchises. 

A Night At The MuseumThe Pelican BriefTwo Weeks NoticeThe Imposters. Selected Off-Broadway includes The New Englanders, Manhattan Theater Club (Audelco Award-Outstanding Lead Actor); Beast In The Jungle, Vineyard Theater, directed by Susan Stroman; Is God Is, Soho Rep; A Last Dance For Sybil by Ossie Davis, starring Ruby Dee and Coriolanus at The New York Shakespeare Festival. 

Coriolanus was Mr. Bougere’s 13th appearance with the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater. Past turns at the festival include Plato in Socrates (with Michael Stuhlbarg); Caska in Julius Caesar; Eros in Antony and Cleopatra, directed by and starring Vanessa Redgrave; and Cymbeline, directed by Daniel Sullivan. 

Regionally Mr. Bougere created the title role in the world premiere stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The production was directed by Christopher Mcelroen and played The Court Theater In Chicago; Studio Theater in Washington D.C., and Boston’s Huntington Theater.

Eric T. Miller: Theater credits include Mope (Ensemble Studio Theatre), rogerandtom (HERE), Sweet Storm (LAByrinth), (A)Loft Modulation (the american vicarious), Awake and Sing! and Ripcord (Huntington Theatre), Wink (TerraNova), Luft Gangster (Sheen Center), Safe Home (Royal Family Productions), Betrayed (Culture Project) as well as work at the Syracuse Stage, Bard Summerscape, New York Stage and Film, Rattlestick, PS 122, Workshop, and the Flea.

Television and Film credits Television and Film credits include Mare of Easttown, Halston, FBI: Most Wanted, The Good Fight, Blue Bloods, Chicago PD, Blacklist, Person of InterestElementaryThe Unusuals, Kings, Law & OrderShameReaching Home, The Waiting Room, Home, Tom’s Dilemma, AdFirm, Separation, Redemption in Cherry Springs, Josie & Jack, and the upcoming Jules with Ben Kingsley.

Director Christopher McElroen is the Founding Artistic Director of the american vicarious. Previously, he co-founded the Classical Theatre of Harlem, where from 1999 to 2009, he oversaw 41 productions yielding 18 AUDELCO Awards, 6 OBIE Awards, 2 Lucille Lortel Awards, and a Drama Desk Award. Christopher’s recent projects include Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley (2022) and Static Apnea (2020), which were both listed as “Highbrow and Brilliant” in New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix, and Broadway World said “the american vicarious is on my list of must see theatre companies.”

In collaboration with six-time Grammy Award nominee Gerald Clayton, Christopher developed and directed Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation, which was presented at Harlem Stage in June 2022. Christopher received a 2013 Helen Hayes Award for his direction of the world premiere stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s iconic novel Invisible Man. Christopher had the honor of directing 51st (dream) State, the final work of poet, musician, and activist Sekou Sundiata, which premiered at BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Alongside 

NEED TO KNOW: Stone Nest, 136 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5EZ from 15 March – 8 Apr 2023 | BSL interpreted performance 6th April