Five Years with the White Man photo on Stagedoor
Five Years with the White Man photo on Stagedoor

Five Years with the White Man Tickets

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Part of The Takeover: Sight Unseen Season

Show Ended

Date & Time

Show ended

Mon 27 Mar - Sun 2 Apr 2023, 6pm & 7pm

Runtime: 1h 15m

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One of the criticisms increasingly levelled at the solo artistic director model of leadership, which still predominates in British theatre, is that it can lead to tunnel vision, in which programming may be done to some extent by a team but is strongly influenced by the person at the top of the theatre. It’s inevitable, not least because it tends to be that individual who is the face of the organisation and who is held accountable for the success or failure of a season. But what happens to a theatre’s output when four guest artistic directors from widely varying theatre backgrounds curate their own mini-programmes of work? Step up the King’s Head where Tom Ratcliffe, Tania Azevedo, and David Cumming are taking the reins for a short time each. The experiment kicks off with Isabel Adomakoh Young choosing a season of shows that include Unleash the Llama with Five Years with the White Man about the black satirist ABC Merriman-Labor, who wrote the first ethnographic account of the White Man; the drag king piece King Dynasty from the queer Pan-Asian company Bitten Peach; Alice McKee’s Perverts about threesomes and internalised shame; and much, much more.

About Five Years with the White Man

The amazing untold story of the greatest Black Briton you’ve never heard of. Unleash The Llama unearth the tale of a forgotten figure of Black British History in the first theatrical adaptation of the life of A.B.C Merriman-Labor: a trailblazing African satirist who dreamed of becoming the greatest writer in the British Empire. Embarking on a defiant journey from Sierra Leone to the ‘horrifying heart of whiteness’ (Edwardian London), Merriman-Labor wrestles with romantic ruin, financial catastrophe, and severe writers’ block - to compose the first satirical ethnography of The White Man ever attempted. But when details of his intimate friendship with John Roberts spark rumours back in Freetown, he is faced with the impossible choice of exposure or oblivion. This charismatic one-performer show features a kaleidoscope of characters brought to life through object puppetry and live sound effects, blending an Edwardian stand-up set with a contemporary exploration of racial and sexual identity. Five Years with the White Man is a tragicomic celebration of a long-forgotten figure, who defied the bigotry of empire. This show is part of Sight Unseen, a season curated by Isabel Adomakoh Young for The Takeover. Age Recommendation: 14+