After touring the UK during May, hit drama Custody returns to the Ovalhouse this week. The piece, which explores the impact of police brutality of BAME communities, enjoyed a successful run at the south London venue in 2017. Book your tickets now!
The play, created by Tom Wainwright and written by Urban Wolf, runs from 5 to 22 June 2019 at Ovalhouse.
When another young black man dies in police custody and apparently no-one is to blame, one bereaved family battles for answers and justice.
A contemporary fictional narrative built on truth, Custody tackles an uncomfortable and devastating truth often naively assumed to be an American issue and questions the ability of the police to police themselves.
Custody arrives at Ovalhouse at a time when the police’s use of ‘stop and search’ has risen by 400%, while black people remain disproportionately targeted by it. According to government statistics, in 2017/18, Black people were almost 10 times more likely to be stopped and searched than White people. In London, the Metropolitan Police carried out 16 stop and searches for every 1,000 people.
The piece is inspired by Urban Wolf’s own experiences of stop and search, along with Migrant Media’s banned documentary films, Injustice and Who Polices The Police. It draws on the accounts of real families who have suffered police injustice.
Speaking about the production, Urban Wolf said: “We’re bringing back Custody not only because of its success in London, but also after seeing how effective it was with audience members. Deaths in police custody is an issue that is ongoing and while we’re doing this to share amazing stories, we’re also raising awareness of this. There are many regions in the UK where this has happened, and is still happening, but people aren’t always aware about these cases. We’re passionate about bringing the momentum and sharing those stories beyond London.”
Urban Wolf takes the role of Brother in the play, with Muna Otaru (Broken, The Keeping Room) as Mother, Rochelle James as Lover and Ewa Dina as Sister. Gbemisola Ikumelo, whose performing credits include Twelfth Night (Young Vic), Oliver Twist (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and The New Nigerians (Arcola Theatre), directs.