Aluko closing Everyman with Robeson playDate: 16 May 2011
Nigerian-born Tayo Aluko returns to the region with his one-man play Call Mr Robeson in June.
The play features speeches and songs by African-American actor, singer, lawyer and activist Paul Robeson, performed by Aluko who has written the show.
Robeson’s baritone voice was revered during the 1920s and 1930s. Following a stage performance in Jerome Kern’s and Oscar Hammerstein’s production Showboat in London, his name became synonymous with the song ‘Ol’ Man River’.
He gained a lead role in Shakespeare’s Othello at the Savoy Theatre which is claimed to be the first time a black man was cast in the part within a major production of the work in seventy years.
Call Mr Robeson highlights Robeson’s rise to fame and how his radical activism caused him to be disowned and disremembered, even by the leaders and descendants of the civil rights movement.
For the past few years, Aluko has travelled across the UK and America with his play and last summer gave a performance at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre to raise funds to take Call Mr Robeson to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where he gained critical acclaim.
Aluko followed his appearance at the Fringe with a performance in the Rodewald Suite at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall last October.
Aluko, who has previously worked in Liverpool as a property developer and architect, will be returning to the city during an historical time as the show will be the last ever production at Liverpool’s Everyman before its £28million redevelopment. The theatre will close in July and reopen in 2013.
The play arrives to the theatre on Friday 24 June, before an appearance at the Rose Theatre at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk later in the year as part of a tour.
Call Mr Robeson is part of the Everyman’s contribution to the Liverpool City of Radicals season. Organisers of a year-long programme of exhibitions, debates and events, celebrating radicalism in Liverpool, regard the theatre as one of the most radical venues in the city within the past century.
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