Eclipse Theatre’s Pioneering Black Men Walking Comes To The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
Ground-breaking Black-led theatre company Eclipse kickstart a pioneering writing scheme this February with an innovative show by rapper and beatboxer Testament. Delving into 2000 years of Black British history, Black Men Walking will spearhead Eclipse’s Revolution Mix – the largest ever national delivery of Black British shows produced and performed in regional theatres.
Following its Manchester premiere, the show comes directly to Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre as part of a 2018 tour coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Windrush – a milestone often celebrated as the beginning of modern multicultural Britain. Both Black Men Walking and Revolution Mix look to challenge this idea, unearthing untold stories that have shaped British culture over hundreds of years.
Blending dramatic storytelling with original music, the play is inspired by the real-life Peak District-based Black Men’s Walking Group, and tells the story of Thomas (Tyrone Huggins), Matthew (Trevor Laird) and Richard (Tonderai Munyevu), three middle-aged men who meet up for a planned hike only to discover that the rest of their group has cancelled. As they set off on their walk alone, they find themselves forced to walk backwards through 2000 years of Black history, encountering supernatural elements and the spirits of their ancestors along the way.
Director Dawn Walton said: “This powerful story perfectly encompasses everything the Rev 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.
Black Men Walking runs at the Belgrade Theatre from Wednesday 7 until Saturday 10 February.