7 Feb 2018

Critically acclaimed new show turns the spotlight on Britain’s missing black history

Black Men Walking brings the ground-breaking Revolution Mix movement, the biggest national programme of Black British stories, to Hull.

The first work to be staged as part of Revolution Mix, a pioneering movement placing the black narrative at the heart of British theatre, features in Hull Truck Theatre’s 2018 season.

The production has been proclaimed as “powerful and lyrical theatre about what it is to be black and British” by The Stage, who appraisingly awarded it five stars. Now Eclipse Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester will tour Black Men Walking across the UK.

The play is part of a wider programme of events put on by the company, unveiling the hidden stories that exist in more than 500 hundred years of Black British history, and this is what Black Men Walking explores.

Inspired by a real-life walking group based in Sheffield, the production tells the compelling story of three middle-aged black men – Thomas, Matthew and Richard – who meet every month as part of a walking group to explore the dramatic landscape of the Peak District in Yorkshire.

On this trip the rest of the group cancels, and it soon feels like maybe they should have done too. The men find themselves walking backwards through two thousand years of black history, embarking on a dangerous journey that invokes an element of the supernatural, an encounter with the spirits of their ancestors and an exploration of what it means to be Black British today.

Conceived by Eclipse this new work mixes dramatic story-telling with original music from Leeds-based rapper, singer, producer and performer Testament.

A rising star in the theatre landscape, Testament was most recently acclaimed for his one-man show about feminism, WOKE, which fused a powerful first-person narrative with his signature beat-boxing and rapping – so expect big things from Black Men Walking.

Director Dawn Walton said “This powerful story perfectly encompasses everything the Revolution Mix movement stands for; turning the spotlight onto Britain’s missing Black history with a piece inspired by real people and real events.

“It is so important that these stories are told, especially when you look at the recent online backlash faced by Mary Beard who was accused of ‘re-writing history’ by pointing out the ethnic diversity of Roman Britain. This reaction is evidence of a real lack of understanding about our true British heritage. Open a history book and you’ll see that the Roman empire, Britain included, featured people from Ethiopia, Algeria and beyond.

“This is just the first of several new works from Revolution Mix set to tour in 2018, which is also the 70th anniversary of the arrival of Windrush, a milestone which is often celebrated as the start of modern multicultural Britain.”

Black Men Walking will run at Hull Truck Theatre, 27 Feb – 3 Mar 2018. Book your tickets now.

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