A spoken word poetry play about identity, bigotry and unlikely friendship.

Project aim

A spoken word poetry play about identity, bigotry and unlikely friendship.

About the project

So A City of Foxes is finally getting off the ground! Welcome to my spoken word poetry play about a mixed race teenager challenging the bigotry of her neighbour in an attempt to create a new, inclusive and open definition of Britishness. A definition that gives everyone a chance to belong in a country that needs diversity of thought and feeling more than ever right now.

This project started after a conversation with a few of my students when I taught in Wembley. They told me how often they felt judged by some of the older, white members of their community because of their ethnicity. Some of these students were black, some were Indian, some were Pakistani, some were Arabic. They said it stopped them feeling 'properly British', even though they were born here or had lived here most of their lives, even though their parents worked hard and paid their taxes and learned to speak English and became part of the community.

So I wrote this story: The story of a mixed race teenage girl, Durga, who struggles to identify with her Hindu name because she doesn't speak her native Sanskrit, and she loves football and eats fish and chips. She's a happy little girl, whose parents, down-to-earth and rough around the edges, love each other and love her. Durga doesn't think about the fact that her father is a white man who drives a white van, or that her mother's heritage comes from a country little Durga has never seen. But now Durga has something new to contend with, the terror of an old lady next door, still reeling from a tragedy forty six years old, who cannot cope with Durga's race and is determined that she cannot be British.

This is a story told to me a thousand times over by pre-teens too young to have to contend with an identity crisis this huge. This is my attempt to right a wrong being done to our children, (all of them) when we tell them that race, colour, culture, religion, language, any of it, matters more than whether or not you will help an old lady who has fallen in the road.

This is a project for schools and community centres, for retirement homes and hospital wards, for pavements and town centres and gazebos in fields. This means something. This should be shared. If you want to build a better Britain, please help me create a project I can share with small communities. I'm going to change one mind at a time in as many places as I can.