Fringe First winners, Bear Trap Theatre, will bring the true story of a revolutionary leader to the stage this autumn.
Bear Trap Theatre presents Messiah, the true story of the life and legacy of a revolutionary Black Panther Party member who inspired the next generation of young activists.
Based on the too-short life of Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton, the drama opens on the night of his assassination. 50 years on from his death, the play highlights Hampton’s life and legacy, in particular the peaceful negotiations he led with Chicago street gangs and his efforts to end police brutality. Messiah is a timely retelling of Hampton’s story, considering the revolutionary potential of politically engaged young people and the will to make a difference, whatever the cost.
On the 4th December 1969, Fred Hampton lies asleep next to his heavily-pregnant girlfriend, Deborah Johnson. Although only 21-years-old, Hampton has made a name for himself helping to instigate non-violent pacts between street gangs. As the founder of much-needed free public health clinics he oversees projects to feed thousands of impoverished school kids.
His good deeds, however, are not unanimously winning him fans. All the Chicago Police Department see is a member of the Black Panther Party and, in the dark outside his bedroom, fourteen men load their weapons.
Fred Hampton was born in 1948 in Summit, Illinois. He relocated to Chicago as a young adult after becoming politically-motivated and involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Black Panther Party. His work with the BPP included the Free Breakfast Program, which provided free meals for thousands of school-aged children and is now a lesser-recalled part of the BPP’s activism.
Bear Trap Theatre bring their innate sense of empathy to telling the story of this remarkable man.
When: 27th November 2019 – 11th January 2020
Where: Touring to Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Wells Connect Centre, Cardiff’s Chapter arts centre, Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London, and Streatham Space Project
£: Tickets cost £8 – £15, depending on the venue
More info: www.beartrap.org