April 2021


Watch now on BBC iPlayer

Fortune is live streaming her truth. Weaving words of survival and solidarity: from a little girl in a bedroom in Kinshasa to a bold young poet in Liverpool. This is her story.




Buttercup is the story of a young woman strong enough to finally make herself heard. She is live-streaming an informal spoken word gig to her online followers. As she takes the mic, she desperately hopes that her audience will include the one person; her mum.

Weaving words, poems, and memories, she shares her story. From a vulnerable little girl in a bedroom in Kinshasa to a bold young woman partying and performing in Liverpool. Only now is she ready to revisit a past that she has locked away, to recognise the power behind her mother’s warnings, and to accept the truth that she was never to blame.

Her spoken word set ricochets back and forth across two decades and two continents. Back to her childhood home in the Congo, filled by a constant stream of aunties and uncles – family without blood ties. Fast-forward to a life in the UK, where Fortune embraces British Christmases but remains tied to the traditions of the country of her birth. She warns her sister Hope, too young to remember where they came from, that their childhood was not all ‘lollipops and sunshine for everyone’ and we know that Fortune sacrificed herself, staying silent so that her sister would not be next.

Watch On BBC iPlayer Now


About the show

Buttercup is the debut play written and performed by Liverpool-based Congolese musician and actor Dorcas Seb, based an original idea by associate producer Odile Mukete.

Commissioned by BBC Arts as part of their Lights On programme, the film is a co-production between Tigerlily Productions and 20 Stories High. It was directed by Julia Samuels (co-Artistic Director of 20 Stories High), produced by Jenny Monks (Tigerlily Productions) and Leanne Jones (20 Stories High).

Buttercup is 20 Stories High’s second BBC commission, following I Told My Mum I Was Going on an R.E. Trip, originally presented by BBC’s Performance Live in 2018 and re-released on iPlayer as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine series.

Photos by Wes Rashid.

Images and Video

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Fortune  Dorcas Sebuyange

Carla  Ade Ajibade

Evie  Gabrielle Ellison

Mother Emmanuela Yogolelo

Creative Team

Writer Dorcas Seb

Original Idea Odile Mukete

Director   Julia Samuels

Producers Jennifer Monks & Leanne Jones

Executive Producer for BBC Jonty Claypole

Executive Producers Natasha Dack Ojumu, Nikki Parrott, Julia Samuels


First Assistant Director Sarah-Jane Jones

Second Assistant Director Natasha Patel

Third Assistant Director Donna Coleman

Associate Producer Odile Mukete

Assistant Producer Lucy Graham

Director of Photography Esther Vardy

Editor Polly Ward

Online Editor and Colourist Mike Myshko

Music Shunaji

Sound Designer Aiwan Obinyan

Sound Recordist Mike Mullen

Production Designer Miriam Nabarro

Costume, Hair and Makeup Designer Odile Mukete

Dramaturg Sudha Bhuchar

Script Supervisor Amanda Nally

Focus Puller Sandra Coulson

Second Assistant Camera Dean Keague

DIT Eve Bolotova

Grip Jason Lee

Gaffer Dan Tunstell

Electrician Mark Rickett

Desk Operator Emma Winstanley

Art Director Max Meronti

Prop Master Martin Haydock

Stills Photographer Wes Rashid

Covid Supervisor & On Set Medic James Ward

Artist Wellbeing Practitioner Lou Platt

Production Accountant Laura Hall

Production Assistant Rich Bond

“a powerful message of both condemnation of the act against her and celebration of her survival. Insightful and powerful.”

Nick Wayne (Pocket Sized Theatre)

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