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The project stems from The Streets Where We Live, a bespoke historical walking tour originally commissioned in 2021 by Falling Doors Theatre and the Everyman & Playhouse.
Four writers – Ashleigh Nugent, Marjorie Morgan, Paislie Reid, RJ Lloyd – were invited to join local historian Laurence Westgaph’s Liverpool & Slavery walking tours and create any kind of written response they chose, based on what they learnt.
The depth and extent of the slave trade’s impact on the development of the city of Liverpool was discovered, becoming a bespoke tour in August 2021. It allowed audiences the opportunity to see countless landmarks, monuments and streets names under a new perspective, with the Everyman building itself revealed as the site of speeches given by African American Frederick Douglass who spoke at Hope Hall on 19 January 1860 to push for the abolition of slavery, having been enslaved himself.
Alongside the digital series, the Everyman & Playhouse have also announced their intention to commemorate Frederick Douglass with a plaque and activities at the Everyman, working in partnership with Liverpool Black Men’s Group.
It is hoped that the new free digital resources, aimed at students (secondary school and above) and people with an interest in Liverpool history and creative writing for theatre, will provoke and inspire other creative activities and responses. While the plaque will be a lasting physical reminder of the struggle for freedom and reform.
“I’m so pleased that The Streets Where We Live will continue to have a lasting legacy both digitally and physically. We’ve learnt so much through this project so far and look forward to that continuing with Falling Doors Theatre in the future.
Work now begins with Laurence and Liverpool Black Men’s Group to secure planning permission and find an artist to create a lasting commemoration for Frederick Douglass at the Everyman, as part of Liverpool Black History Research Group’s slavery street plaques initiative.”
“Bringing theatricality into the tours in the summer gave a new depth and understanding to them and it’s great that schools can now use these free resources to learn and understand more about their own city’s history in a creative way.
I’m looking forward to working with the Everyman on finding an artist to create a fitting plaque to detail Frederick Douglass’ role not just as an abolitionist but as a social reformer and orator of great importance.”
“I’m thrilled this isn’t the end of the project we started last year with Laurence and the Everyman & Playhouse. It feels like it’s just the beginning, with this week’s launch of the digital resources an important milestone in this continuing and evolving project, as we learn more about this city’s history and its role in the slave trade.”
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