Custody is showing at Ovalhouse theatre in London. It was written by Tom Wainwright and directed by Gbemisola Ikumelo. The play stars creator Urbain Hayo himself, along with Muna Otaru, Ewa Dina and Rochelle James.
‘There was a bit of a scuffle… and I’m sorry to say that he passed away.’ Another young black man dies in police custody. Apparently, no one is to blame. Custody follows the story of Brian’s family who are dealing with the emotional anguish and pursuit of justice, following his murder at the hands of the police. Inspired by creator Urban Wolf’s personal experiences of being stopped and searched and racially profiled by the police, the play explores the consequences of institutional racism on the family unit and wider society; it makes links with rise of the global #BlackLivesMatter movement. Wolf explains how ‘theatre is one of the most powerful ways to bring about empathy because the audience is forced to be in the same space as these characters and go on a journey with them… I want white middle-class audiences to watch it.’ Custody explores the pain and tragedy of our criminal justice system that only works for a section of our population and asks: how do you fight for justice when nobody is on your side?