Boxing, Theatre and Migration

In October 2016, we began a collaboration with Tom Green, a playwright based in London, who we know via our connections with Refugee Week and Platforma. Tom’s latest play, Tom Molineaux, tells the story of black American boxer Tom Molineaux, who came to the UK in 1810 as a freed slave and ended up fighting for the national title in front of 20,000 people.

Members of Darwen Youth Theatre along with our staff and volunteers worked on the theme of boxing and what we knew or wanted to know about the sport; we devised a short work in progress which we performed in a boxing ring at Fit2XL in Lower Darwen. Kerry, Nudrat and Tinta also went to Brockley Jack Studio Theatre to watch a rehearsed reading of the play.

During 2017, training workshops have been delivered to our volunteers and staff; Tom has been a guest artist on our drama sessions at Blackburn Youth Zone with Junior and Diversity Club; on 4 April, we presented at a Learning Lab in Manchester, hosted by Platforma, Counterpoints Arts and CAN and on 19 May 2017 we hosted the world premiere of Tom Molineaux at Darwen Library Theatre to a large, diverse audience. During May, we also began interviewing boxers at different levels of training at Fit2XL and for Refugee Week in June, we hosted Team Faizy; a documentary made by Anton Yavorsky about ‘AJ’, a local young boxer originally from Afghanistan.

We hope the connections continue. We are interested in further exploring the links between migration, boxing/ other sports and theatre and gaining further skills and experience for our staff, volunteers and participants as well as strengthening our links with other community organisations.

Thank you to:

Tom Green, Platforma and Counterpoints Arts
Action Factory staff and volunteers: Nudrat Mughal, Urmi, Mirza, Tinta, Mary, Pam
Darwen Youth Theatre and Story Makers
Darwen Library Theatre
Blackburn Youth Zone

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