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19th century story of racism still resonates in powerful drama


Freeman, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, September 5-8.

After a run at this year's Edinburgh Fringe (details below), Birmingham-based Strictly Arts will be returning to the Belgrade in September with a revival of their critically-acclaimed show Freeman, which played Coventry last year.

Created in collaboration with writer Camilla Whitehill, Freeman explores the often unspoken link between systemic racism and mental health, inspired by the story of a black American, William Freeman, the first man to plead insanity as a legal defence in the United States.

Developed in partnership with the Belgrade Theatre through its Springboard talent development programme, Freeman combines high-energy physical theatre, powerful drama, gospel singing and shadow puppetry, and draws on extensive research into deaths and mental illness among prisoners on both sides of the Atlantic.

Strictly Arts artistic director Corey Campbell said: "As an individual who has been a victim of racial profiling, wrongfully accused by the justice system, with friends and family who have suffered from poor mental health, and a member of the black community myself, the statistics and information I've researched are both relevant and frightening.

"To think that William Freeman's story from the 1800s can still be an example to us today, shows that we are still in dangerous waters."

For tickets go to: www.belgrade.co.uk

In Edinburgh, Freeman plays at Pleasance Courtyard, August 1-9, and 11-27.

For tickets there go to: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/freeman

Winner!