Posted by Richard Willett - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 29 February 2024

Black playwright defends black-only nights for Kit Harington West End show saying it allows black theatregoers ‘to feel safe with a lot of other black people in a place where they often do not feel safe’

A playwright has defended nights solely for black audiences at a West End show saying it allows black people ‘to feel safe in a place where they often do not feel safe.’

Slave Play, starring Kit Harington who is best known for his role as Jon Snow in the HBO series Game of Thrones, is coming to the Noël Coward theatre in London’s West End from 29 June to 21 September.

But on the evenings of 17 July and 17 September, the theatre will be open to an ‘all-Black identifying audience’ to allow black audiences to watch the play ‘free from the white gaze’.

Playwright Jeremy O Harris said he was ‘so excited’ to put on nights in the West End where tickets were only sold to people who identified as black.

He said ‘it is a necessity to radically invite them in with initiatives that say ‘you’re invited’. Specifically you.’

Speaking to BBC Sounds yesterday, he said: ‘One of the things we have to remember is that people have to be radically invited into a space to know that they belong there and in most places in the west, poor people and black people have been told that they do not belong inside the theatre.

‘For me, as someone who wants and yearns for black and brown people to be in the theatre, who comes from a working class environment, who wants people who do not make six figures to feel like theatre is a place for them, it is a necessity to radically invite them in with initiatives that say ‘you’re invited’. Specifically you.’

Asked if it didn’t make him uncomfortable that in turn it was telling white people they weren’t allowed in the space, he responded: ‘There are a litany of places in our country that are generally only inhabited by white people, and nobody is questioning that, and nobody is saying that by inviting black audiences here you are uninvited.

‘The idea of a Black Out night is to say this is a night that we are specifically inviting black people to fill up the space, to feel safe with a lot of other black people in a place where they often do not feel safe.’

Asked if the theatre felt different that way, he said: ‘100%. Let’s not act that we do not know that culturally white audiences and black audiences respond to things differently.’

He spoke of a history in black American audiences where a ‘call and response’ was common, for example, agreeing that it can be a ‘noisier experience.’

‘White audiences in the west have decided to stay quiet and respond with politeness to anything they see in front of them,’ he said, though he said it wasn’t always that way in the past.

O Harris spoke about how for Slave Play, they would have over 200 tickets a week that would cost just £1 in a bid to be accessible to those from poorer backgrounds.

Read More: Black playwright defends black-only nights for Kit Harington West End

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