Sheffield date for play Custody about young black men killed in police custody
A new play coming to Sheffield on tour looks at the deaths of young black men in police custody.
Young black performer Urbain Hayo, who created the show, Custody, said: “The idea for it came after Mark Duggan died.” The 29-year-old Londoner was shot by police officers in Tottenham in 2011.
“After he passed away there were mass riots across the city and a lot of people in my community and my age were protesting and they were arrested.
“Underneath there was a lot of comments saying we don’t see why these children and doing this stuff, they are really ungrateful, and I wanted to make a piece that explained about how these things happened.
“I thought I’m going to have to research why these kids are doing this and explain the relationship that people didn’t understand between black people and the police for the rest of the country that have not been through that relationship.They’re not in it.”
The show is on tour to spread the conversation wider, said Urbain.
His research led him to talk to several black families whose relatives have been killed in police custody. Their real experiences have been woven into a fictional narrative about a bereaved family’s fight for answers and for justice.
The play uses a mixture of movement, poetry and dramatic themes, said Urbain. “It’s a very, very powerful piece that touches on very difficult subjects.
“It also hopes to show how people mourn when they’ve lost somebody and how people interact with the organisations that are meant to support then and protect them but work against them.”
He added: “We’ve had really powerful reactions from audiences. People have left in tears.”
Custody is at the Crucible Studio next Wednesday, May 29.