Play puts Malcolm X’s visit to area under the spotlight

By Megan Archer | Smethwick | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

A brand new play will explore the incredible visit of Malcolm X to Smethwick in 1965.

The Malcolm X blue plaque on Marshall Street

Against the backdrop of the swinging sixties, this new play explores the stories of the local people who met the infamous American figure, who was assassinated just nine days later.

Malcolm X was invited to Smethwick in 1965 by the Indian Workers Association, amongst reports of strained race relations.

Conservative MP Peter Griffiths was backing a campaign to prevent black and Asian families from obtaining houses in Marshall Street.

The play features four characters who represent the full diversity of the local community at the time, who all have a different story to tell. The play is in monologue form and will tour to six venues this September and October in a series of preview performances. Most performances are free to attend or very low cost, and each show will include a post-show discussion with the writer and the cast.

Paul says: "I am always shocked that many local people don’t know about this important event in our recent history. The politics and issues of the time have never been more relevant as we grapple with hate crime, Brexit, ‘fake news’ and a whirlwind of politics. I hope the play will open up real conversations in local communities."

The show will be at Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton on Tuesday, September 24 at 7pm; Thimblemill Library in Smethwick on Thursday, September 26 at 8pm; Birmingham Hippodrome on Friday, September 27 at 6.30pm; Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham on Wednesday, October 2 at 8pm; CAP Centre in Smethwick on Friday, October 4 at 8pm; and Smethwick Library on Saturday, October 5 at 2pm.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email


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