The cast and creative team of the 2016 production of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop will reunite for a reading of the play to raise money for Black Lives Matter protesters who have been incarcerated.
Directed by Roy Alexander Weise, the play is set during the American Civil Rights movement and is a fictional depiction of the night before Martin Luther King’s assassination.
It will star Gbolahan Obisesan and Ronke Adékoluejo, who will reprise the roles they played when the production ran at the Young Vic in 2016.
Weise, who directed the play after winning the JMK Award in 2016, is now joint artistic director of the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
The Mountaintop reading will be streamed for free on the Royal Exchange’s YouTube channel on June 10 at 7.30pm, alongside information about where to donate.
All funds raised will go towards the legal fees of people incarcerated while protesting as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The reading is being presented as a partnership between Desara Productions and the Royal Exchange, "to bring communities together through incisive storytelling and because Black Lives Matter".
It will be introduced by Hall and Weise and will stay available until June 15.
Weise said: "Covid-19 is the latest pandemic to strike but we’ve all been dodging a virus for centuries; the sickness of racism. The structures have been more acutely illuminated in our country and more blindingly so in America, but the pain and rage felt by black people around the world today is not new. The deaths and violence are not new.
"For black people, I offer this story for catharsis. I see you. I grieve and scream and feel and do with and for you. For white people it’s an opportunity to listen, really listen and to learn; with your families and those you are connected to."
Weise described the play as a "call to arms", and said: "The world is watching us all. What will you do here? In this country.
"We are on the cusp of something that could change the story of humanity and the quality of life for every human being to walk the earth from this point forward. We all have a part to play. As we think on the life of Dr King, may we also think of the lives lost and those sacrificing theirs right now for the lives of all our children and their children yet to come."