First in a series of film events dedicated to one of Manchester's best friends, artist + political activist Paul Robeson, PR IN MANCHESTER will put the spotlight on the local legendary fondness for musicals + reveal little known historical connections between Manchester + the American stage. American stage which unlike its Mancunian counterpart took its time to welcome Black actors as Paul Robeson reminds us in HERE I STAND. Back in the days of his role model - Shakespearian actor Ira Aldridge - "it was not possible for a (Black) actor to appear in any role - not even as a buffoon. [...]"
PR IN MANCHESTER will include the screening of SHOW BOAT, the classic film musical released in the Olympic year of 1936...which addresses, "1930s style", racial issues. It tells the story, starting in the 1880s, of the Hawk family, owners of a floating theatre providing entertainment along the Mississippi River. Paul Robeson plays the role of Joe, one of the stevedores employed by the Hawks.
PR IN MANCHESTER will open with a short illustrated talk by local historian Dominique Tessier looking at the (pre)history of cinema in Manchester + the contributions of anti-slavery lecturers such as Henry Box Brown, Manchester based fugitive slave who developed a panorama of American slavery.
The screening of SHOW BOAT will be followed with a panel and Q&A featuring Dominique Tessier and CP Lee, focusing at the evolution of cinema in Manchester from its early days as an anthropological tool to a local industry.
Part of Black History Month Greater Manchester 2016