Black men, mental health and COVID-19 explored in new theatre show

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THE BLACK Consortium have announced their interactive theatre performance and community dialogue event about Black men in the time of COVID-19, and its impact on their mental health.

Kwame and the lockdown will be available worldwide. It hopes to encourage conversations about how Black men can improve their mental health and wellbeing.

It also addresses the challenges that Black men will face post-lockdown.

Arts practioner Tony Cealy is behind the show, and it was created with workshops he regularly holds with Black men in Lambeth.

We really interrogated the complexities and the complications of the Black man.

Tony Cealy, arts practitioner

The Voice spoke to him to find out more:

What can people expect from the performance?

The performance is an interactive piece of ‘Zoom-theatre’, that looks at the problem of one Black male.

The group feels that the character of Kwame is in every Black man because of the way they see themselves within the UK – particularly in terms of the value that is placed on their lives and the inequality.

It looks at how Kwame manages his mental health, and also explores how oppression impacts his experiences.

We really interrogated the complexities and the complications of the Black man. We tried to find this humanistic part of Kwame that could relate to different types of Black males.

We really want his experience to be shared with people who experience similar oppressions. We want to make those solidarity connections. So we can build stronger alliances to tackle injustice.

The workshops allow the group to feel held, feel supported and nurtured by other men; to realise that they are not alone. 

Tony Cealy, arts practitioner

How can we collectively encourage conversations around Black men and mental health?

Our weekly workshops are places for men to talk about their mental health, and the things that matter in their lives.

They allow the group to feel held, to feel supported and nurtured by other men; to realise that they are not alone. 

The play literally asks the audience: ‘How does a Black man survive under COVID in 2020?’ We hope it facilitates a call to action, some kind of unification among the people who were there on the day, watching that performance.

The performance will be held via Zoom on Friday 30th October as part of Lambeth’s Black History Month Showcase.

Interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

You can buy tickets here

Tony Cealy also hosts community workshops, inspired by theatre practises. You can find his work at www.tonycealy.com


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