Black Men Walking 'heads towards broader discussions of identity and location'
- Gareth K Vile
- 4 September 2019
Eclipse's critically acclaimed production inspired by a real-life walking men's group in Sheffield returns for UK tour
Inspired by a real life men's walking group in Cumbria, Black Men Walking takes a stroll through the Peak District, detouring through 2000 years of black history and arriving at a supernatural meeting with the spirits of their ancestors. With music from rapper Testament, and an unflinching look at a serious contemporary subject, this promises to be an uncompromising production.
Peter Huntley, interim executive producer at Eclipse, explains: 'The group inspired the play, but it doesn't tell their exact story. Hearing about how they use the walk to share their experience of living in Britain and how they connect to the landscape is something we explore in the production.' From this starting point, Black Men Walking heads towards broader discussions of identity and location.
Huntley's vision is a telling one that recognises a key problem with contemporary theatre and balances the fictional with the factual. 'It's important that we use real events as we want to reflect the black British experience,' he says. 'We want people from those communities to see themselves represented on stage – something which doesn't often happen in the theatre world.'
By reclaiming the landscape of the Peak District as part of black history, Black Men Walking challenges audiences to reconsider not only theatrical exclusion but also gaps in the historical record.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 5–Sat 7 Sep; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 18–Sat 21 Sep, and touring.