ENG-ER-LAND by Hannah Kumari.
ENG-ER-LAND, directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair and supported by The Football Supporter’s Association (The FSA), will tour to a range of theatres across the country and perhaps more importantly to a selection of venues not on the traditional touring circuit, Like Dulwich College or the National Football Association. The national tour kicks off in the City of Culture in Coventry’s Warwick Arts Centre and will be staged in a variety of theatres with the aim of reaching as many communities and football fans as possible.
The tour follows in the wake of shocking increases in the levels of race hate and homophobic abuse, around football matches and across social media – in spite of the season being put on hold for several months due to Covid-19. Findings by Kick It Out, the English football’s equality and inclusion organisation, noted in 2019/20 an 53% increase in reported racial abuse in the professional game between this season and last. Even more alarmingly, Kick It Out received 117 reports of abuse based on sexual orientation compared to 60 last season – up by 95%. (*refer to the report summary in the Notes to Editors section below).
The writer Kumari says: “The play is also an exploration of my mixed-race identity, and the idea of Englishness – what does it mean to be English and who gets to define that? I wanted to write a play that was fun and uplifting, whilst also confronting big issues.
Anwar Uddin, a former pro footballer, FA Council Member and Campaign Manager for The Football Supporters Association’s (FSA) Fan’s For Diversity, a campaign which works to promote inclusivity in football adds: “I hope that, through empathy and shared experience, audiences around the country can really connect with Hannah’s play in a positive way and are encouraged to reflect on their own behaviour and more likely to stand up for others.”
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- HANNAH KUMARI. – Writer and performer
- RIKKI BEADLE-BLAIR – Director
- TINGYING – Sound designer