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September 29, 2014
News

Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British Army to be portrayed in powerful new play, touring this year in celebration of Black History Month

HallowedTurf3_495_305_c1Sport and theatre don’t often mix, although they do in a new play about Walter Tull, the Spurs and Northampton football star who became the first Black British combat officer to serve in World War I. Gazebo Theatre’s latest production ‘The Hallowed Turf’, tells the true story of Walter Tull through the eyes of a young unknown soldier who meets his hero on the front line.

The grandson of a slave, Walter Tull became the ultimate role model being only the second black footballer to compete at the top division in the early 20th century. He made history in the army as well as on the pitch. He enlisted in 1914, survived Passchendale and the Battle of the Somme to become the first black officer in the British army in 1917 – a virtually unimaginable achievement at that time – and was singled out for ‘gallantry and coolness’ when leading a risky expedition over a frozen river on the Italian front. He died on the Somme in 1918.HallowedTurf4_495_305_c1

404 Not Found Gazebo’s powerful new play, complemented by a backdrop of original film footage courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, draws on Walter’s experiences to create an inspiring story of bravery and friendship in the midst of the horrors of trench warfare. A national tour of The Hallowed Turf starts this Autumn to tie in with black history month and the anniversary of World War I.

HallowedTurf9_495_305_c1Following campaigns petitioned to the government last year to posthumously award Tull a Military Cross for his heroism by legendary footballers such as Garth Crooks and Sol Campbell, Walter Tull will now be remembered on special sets of coins released by the Royal Mint as part of commemorations of the centenary of the First World War. Gazebo Theatre hopes their play will strengthen public campaigns to recognise Walter Tull’s courage and are now delivering specially designed workshops exploring the issues raised in the play, for schools

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HallowedTurf14_495_305_c1‘The Hallowed Turf’ Featuring Oraine Johnson (The Tin Violin, Sorry! No Coloureds, No Irish, No Dogs) and Kaine Barr (BBC Doctors, Waterloo Road), is the latest offering from Gazebo Theatre who have been producing inspiring theatre and arts programmes for the last 35 years. The show is touring nationally in October 2014 – tickets are available now, you can book yours by calling 01902 497222 or emailing admin@gazebotie.org

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