During March 8th – 10th, I did a three day run of my show; Conversations with Paul Robeson at the Hen & Chickens Theatre in Highbury and Islington. The feedback was great and I am pleased that my well overdue show finally made it to the stage. Omicron was the last straw for me and the thought of having a handful of people or no people due to the virus crossed my mind but it could not be put off and the best thing was to commit to the dates with the opportunity given to me by the theatre to do the run.
For some, especially many of the senior folk that seemed to appear from nowhere on the last night of the show, Paul Robeson was a household name. For others it was indeed an introduction to the man and his many talents – All American football player 1917-1918, acclaimed actor, singer of great proportions and most importantly using his celebrity status to become a human rights activist who influenced many many people all over the world. He was born in 1898 after all but so many figures in the civil rights era like Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jnr do not need any introduction. So why Paul? That was even a mystery for those senior citizens who knew of this talent as an entertainment but also his heart and drive as an activist.
After performing Othello at the Savoy alongside the well heeled British actress, Peggy Ashcroft in 1930 he heard song and wondered what it was. The welsh miners were marching during their general strike and had come all the way from Wales. He joined them, sang and also paid for them to travel back to wales with transport and subsistence. This gesture started a remarkable relationship with the Welsh miners that would continue until the end of his life and beyond. This also extended to the Scottish miners.
Of course I would like you to come and see future performances of the show. There is far too much to cover here but as an actor, singer and human rights activist is was a remarkable life he had and most importantly the impact he had other well known people but also the common man and common woman the world over.
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing and performing this play and look forward to continuing this over the coming months and years.