There’s nothing like a good walk – taking in the fresh air, clearing your head and experiencing all that our humble British countryside has to offer – but have you ever considered just how historically significant your chosen walking route may be?
In 2004, friends Maxwell Ayamba, Donald Mclean and Mark Hutchinson were struck by this same question, a question that inspired them to organise a walking group for fellow black men in their hometown of Sheffield. Now 14 years on, the group has become the inspiration behind a new theatre production titled, ‘Black Men Walking’.
After joining the walking group on one of their regular outings across the Peak District, director Dawn Walton found the men’s ethos inspiring; realising the importance of a group that offers an outlet for black men to overcome imposed expectations of masculinity, whilst also encouraging discussion about black British history.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post about her time with the group, Walton said: “We were walking along this flat old Roman road and I immediately thought about Septimius Severus, the black Roman Emperor who died in York. I realised this was a road he probably marched down and here I am, 2,000 years, later marching down the same road – it was quite an emotional moment for me.”
‘Black Men Walking’ is the first production in a wider programme of works called ‘Revolution Mix’ that Walton hopes will result in the largest amount of new black British productions ever. Walton’s ‘Revolution Mix’ will feature seven new touring productions, a series of radio dramas and a film, all with the goal of highlighting that there’s more to black British history than immigration, slavery and gang crime.
This ambitious new production will run from Thursday 15th until Saturday 17th February. Tickets, priced from £10.00 in advance, are available from northernstage.co.uk.