Following its successful debut at Ovalhouse in 2017, Urbain Hayo’s Custody heads out on a UK tour this Spring, kicking off at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.
Inspired by Migrant Media’s banned cult documentary films Injustice and Who Polices the Police, Custody draws on real-life experiences to interrogate the impact of widespread prejudice and police brutality on BAME communities.
When another young Black man dies in police custody and apparently no one is to blame, it sends shock waves rippling across the community. Reeling from his death, his grieving family struggle to make sense of their loss, while pursuing a lengthy court battle in search of justice and concrete answers.
Weaving together his own experiences of the police’s controversial “Stop and Search” procedure with the stories of families who have suffered grave injustices, Urbain Hayo (aka Urban Wolf) creates a contemporary fictional narrative built on difficult truths about young Black men slipping through the cracks in our society – something often naively assumed to be an American issue.
In January this year, it emerged that there had been a 400% rise in police use of “Stop and Search” powers. Amidst reports of Black people being disproportionately targeted for searches, the Assistant Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police also called for the policy to be introduced in schools.
Described by The Reviews Hub as “a vital play… emotionally raw and stylistically bold,” this urgent and compelling drama sets out to highlight and provoke debate around one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Creator and actor Urbain Hayo said: “We’re bringing back Custody not only because of its success in London, but also after seeing how effective it was with audience members. Deaths in police custody is an issue that is ongoing and while we’re doing this to share amazing stories, we’re also raising awareness of this.
“There are many regions in the UK where this has happened, and is still happening, but people aren’t always aware of these cases. We’re passionate about keeping up the momentum and sharing these stories beyond London.”
Custody, showing at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry 1-4 May, is created by Urban Wolf (The Art Machine), written by Tom Wainwright (Banksy: The Room in the Elephant) and directed by Gbemisola Ikumelo (FAITH Drama Productions), with design by Fran Horler, movement direction by Sara Dos Santos and lighting by Will Burgher. The assistant director is Austin Staton, and the producer is Sarah Wrixon for Prime Theatre. Casting for the show includes Muna Otaru as Mother, Rochelle James as Lover, Ewa Dina as Sister and Urban Wolf as Brother.