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Voices that are heard but ignored

Jelani D'Aguilar and Misha Duncan-Barry in My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored. Pics: Anthony Robling
Jelani D'Aguilar and Misha Duncan-Barry in My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored. Pics: Anthony Robling

If you see something you don't agree with, do you intervene?

My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored takes the audience to the centre of the discussion in a new play by Oldham Coliseum-supported artist Nana-Kofi Kufuor (pictured below right).

The drama is an interrogation of black identity, for which he has drawn on his own experience of growing up in Stockport with Ghanian parents, and working in education with young people from a range of backgrounds.

Originally programmed for the Coliseum last November, lockdowns saw it postponed and it will now be seen at Oldham Library on November 15-16.

The play opens as 15-year-old Reece (Jelani D’Aguilar) is being roughly accosted by police. His young, Black teacher Gillian (Misha Duncan-Barry) witnesses the scene but doesn’t question or intervene as it plays out. The consequences of her lack of action erupt the following day when she finds herself locked in a classroom with Reece.

“The crux of this play is how two people react to the same situation. They go on a journey a lot of people of colour go on – a realisation that where you are now isn’t necessarily where you come from,” Nana-Kofi explains.

Director Dermot Daly says: “I was really taken by the conceit and breadth of themes and ideas. Thematically it’s huge. Neither character is who they want to be but both appear to be trapped. This perception in them, and hopefully of the audience, shifts quite dramatically as we progress. But don't worry: there are a few gags in there too.”

Developed as part of a year-long writing commission for Manchester’s Box of Tricks Theatre, and originally staged as a rehearsed reading at HOME, Manchester in January last year, the show is produced by Red Ladder Theatre Company, supported by Oldham Coliseum and Leeds Playhouse.

More information here

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