We spoke to Henry from Strictly Arts about their show, Freeman, winner of this years Pleasance Theatre Charlie Harthill Award. The show looks at the relationship between the justice system, mental health and race, and we at Silent Faces can't wait to see it. Read on for what Henry had to say about the show, the power of theatre and 'black rage'.
What drove you to make Freeman?
The original idea was influenced by a phrase I had come across; ‘black rage’. Initially offended by this phrase I looked into it, researched it and spoke to university professors, and in particular criminologist; Martin Glynn about why this phrase was coined. In researching this phrase, I began to understand that there was a common link between the justice system, mental health and the black community, and also how self-esteem and the fear of perception was, I believe, affecting mental health in young black men and women. With this, ‘Freeman’ was born.
Why is the theatre a good place to for discussion around race?
The theatre is a good place for discussion about anything. I was introduced to theatre by a man named David Vann. He always told me that theatre should hold a mirror up to the world we live in. I believe in the power of theatre and how it can be used, and so I hold a mirror up to the world I know, but don’t necessarily understand. Seems like a great place to explore to me!
There are so many ways to tell stories, tackle issues, explore ideas - why theatre?
Theatre saved my life, it’s all I know, and it’s the only way I know how to express myself.
What was the last show you saw that you think everyone should see?
Nirbhaya by Yael Farber. Words can't do it justice but when it goes on tour again, everyone should see it!
What else in the Edinburgh Fringe programme are you excited to see?
Baby Daddy at the Assembly Rooms by our fellow brummie, Elinor Coleman. It's also her Fringe debut and this one woman show promises to be a treat.
Freeman is on at 17.00 at the Pleasance Courtyard!