7.30PM (60 MINS + 30 mins)
£15 (£10 CONC)
“You might not know us. You might not see us. But we are training. All over Europe. All over the world”
Michael Essien I want to play as you… is a powerful and explosive football-dance-theatre performance exploring the line between hope and desperation for young African footballers who migrate to Europe to play professionally. Six West-African footballers invite an audience into their world of training, politics, visas and contracts.
The financial explosion of football coupled with the growing success of African players in Europe has led to many Africans believing in football as a way out of poverty. While the majority of African players displayed by the media are on million-dollar contracts, there is a growing under-class of football-aspirants living in harsh conditions in foreign lands chasing the dream of a decent football contract.
Post-show discussion with Dr. James Esson of University of Loughborough and Dr. Deborah Jump of Manchester Metropolitan University follows the performance drawing on Dr. Esson’s research into the allure of football for migrants from Africa.
“‘Essien…’ is definitely not just a social-artistic production, but a genuine message delivered through a beautiful theatrical form. Still it is above all the energie and joie de vivre of the player that stays with us.” Filip Tielens, Stamp Media
Performers/Devisers: Etuwe Bright Junior, Aloys Kwaakum, John Obi Agbo, Wemimo Nosa, Junior N’Dagano
Dramaturg: Kristof Persyn
Performers/Devisors from previous seasons: Praise Otito Onubiye, Sunday Ibrahim, ID Noble, Essien Christopher, Ibukun Akinfenwa, Jimmy Nwaoze
Research/Production: Daisy Wouters
Lights: Timme Afschrift
Sound: Kris Strijbos w/ Ahilan Ratnamohan
Producers: Michelle Kotevski, Filip Martens
Originally commissioned by: Urban Theatre Projects (AU)
Co-produced by: Cultuurcentrum Luchtbal
With support from Antwerpen Europese Sporthoofdstad 2013 en de Antwerpse cultuurcentra.