Scottish debut for Black Men Walking as part of new UK tour

Eclipse has announced the return of Black Men Walking (★★★★★ The Stage; ★★★★ The Guardian); the company’s critically acclaimed production inspired by a real-life walking men’s group in Sheffield.

The production will open at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London on August 27, before making its Scottish premiere at Tron Theatre in Glasgow on September 5, as part of a new UK-wide tour.

Thanks to funding from Creative Scotland as part of the Open Project Funding Programme, the tour will also visit three more Scottish towns and cities; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Perth Theatre and -Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, for the first time as part of the four-month run.

The first work staged as part of the Eclipse’s ground-breaking 'Revolution Mix’ movement, which is delivering the largest ever national programme of Black British stories produced and performed in UK theatres, Black Men Walking premiered at the Royal Exchange in Manchester in January 2018 before embarking on a sell-out run across thirteen venues in England and Wales.

Nominated for UK Theatre’s ‘Best New Play’ and Writer’s Guild ‘Best Play’ 2019, the original production was conceived by Eclipse in collaboration with Leeds-based rapper, singer, producer and performer Testament and directed by Dawn Walton. Described as a ‘linguistically dazzling…important, political and poignant’ by The Stage and ‘a truly original and innovative piece of theatre ‘ by The Guardian, the piece won rave reviews for its exploration of complex themes including race and identity, expressed through dramatic story telling which mixes prose, poetry and original music.  

Black Men Walking 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 particular trip, the rest of group cancels and it soon feels like maybe they should have done too. The men find themselves forced to walk 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 both Black and British today.

The Sheffield-based walking group which inspired the production was founded in 2004 by a group of men of African and African-Caribbean heritage who started walking for health, wellbeing and camaraderie.

The new tour will see Tonderai Munyevu [Narrator in Bizet's Carmen at the Grange Festival; ‘Sizwe Banzi Is Dead’, an Eclipse Theatre Company / Young Vic co-production;] and Dorcas Sebuyange [Hayleigh in ‘The Elasticated Sound System’ for 20 Storeys High] reprise their roles as Richard and Ayeesha. Joining them are new cast members Ben Onwukwe (Stuart 'Recall' MacKenzie in ITV’s ‘London's Burning’; Denis Zann in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘Crooked Dances’) as Thomas and Patrick Regis (Best Newcomer Award at the Screen Nations Awards; Ben Morrigan in BBC1’s ‘Hard Sun’; William Pickett in Sony Crackle’s ‘Snatch’) as Matthew.

Comments Peter Huntley, Eclipse Interim Executive Producer: “We’re thrilled to bring back Black Men Walking for its second UK tour, and to include four superb venues in Scotland for the first time. The reaction to the inaugural run last year from audiences and critics alike was incredible and further proof of what Eclipse has known for a long time; that that there is an audience crying out see and hear more Black British stories. This is a fantastic opportunity to share this powerful, lyrical production with new audiences from communities who, up until now, may not have seen themselves and their experiences represented on stage in this way before. We’d urge people to book tickets fast as many venues sold out in advance on the last tour.”

The Black Men Walking 2019 tour kicks off at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, London, before heading to Tron Theatre, Glasgow for its Scottish premiere, then on to York Theatre Royal; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh; Perth Theatre; Theatre Royal Plymouth; Exeter Northcott Theatre; Crucible Studio Theatre, Sheffield; Nottingham Playhouse; Oldham Coliseum Theatre; Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham;  Watford Palace Theatre; Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock; Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

To see full tour listings and to book tickets, click here.


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Scottish debut for Black Men Walking as part of new UK tour