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Theatre Royal Stratford East to release audio play in response to the death of George Floyd

ON MAY 25, 2020, a police officer in Minneapolis killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

This brutal murder ignited a global surge of anger and pain and highlighted the racial inequality that still exists in Britain today.

Acclaimed playwright Roy Williams brought together 14 writers to respond artistically to George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter Movement. From this came 846 – a collection of short pieces. Each is a standalone exploration of racial inequality and oppression, but together they form a powerful tapestry of voices.

846 is directed by Ola Ince and features a soundscape by Donato Wharton.

The audio play will be released to listen to for free at on Monday, July 20, 2020. It will then be adapted and performed live as part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival on Saturday, September 12.

Casting for 846 Live will be announced in due course and tickets will be available from from Thursday, August 6.

Lead Playwright, Roy Williams, said:

“Like the rest of the world, I was of course sickened at the sight of that video. The blatant murder of a fellow black man. There is no other way to describe it. As shocking as it was, the little voice inside my head was saying ‘You know you are going to write about this, so what are you waiting for? Get going!’ I did, but I knew I couldn’t do this alone. I reached out to a group of Black and Asian writers that I belong to on Facebook. They were as shocked and as sickened as I was. I told them what my little voice was telling me, that we should respond!“

Stratford East Artistic Director, Nadia Fall, said:

“In normal times, we’d be front and centre with an artistic response to the George Floyd murder and the activism which has followed it. And though are doors are currently closed we were passionate about producing work that speaks to this moment and adds its voice to the vital push for change that is happening with the BlackLivesMatter movement.”

The 14 pieces are:

I Can Breathe But I Don’t by Samina Baig, performed by Stephanie Street

Shehe by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, performed by Paapa Essiedu

I Witnessed A Murder by Eddie Botsio, performed by Tamara Lawrence

The Time When by Ishy Din, performed by Shane Zaza

Triggered by Clint Dyer, performed by Clint Dyer

Suck. Your. Mum. by Nathan Powell, performed by Kevin Harvey

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Lettie Precious, performed by Jade Anouka

Cop by Avril E. Russell, performed by Cherrelle Skeete

Syrita by Carol Russell, performed by Carol Russell

Say Their Names by Sumerah Srivastav, performed by Will Edgerton

My Part by Selina Thompson, performed by Jude Akuwudike, Doreene Blackstock, Carlos Byles, Dona Croll, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Martina Laird and Rebekah Murrell

Fong Lee by David K.S. Tse, performed by Tuyen Do

IC3 by Nat Marcello White, performed by Kirsty Bushell

8 Minutes 46 Seconds by Roy Williams, performed by Elijah Ansah

NB: 846 contains very strong language and discusses themes some may find sensitive or upsetting.