Deep Background

The script for this play was conceived in the aftermath of the 2008 global banking crisis, says playwright, Mark Norfolk, "I used to work in Shoreditch, right by the city and I used to see bankers and traders every day. They always interested me, particularly by their apparent lack of social politics. It was as if to be a banker you must put your heart away while you pursued a singular goal of making as much money as possible as fast as possible by any means necessary. When the crash happened, I saw headless chickens strutting their stuff in the most pitiful fashion. However what intrigued me the most was how quickly governments stepped into bail out the banks, private banks, I might add, with taxpayers money. It's ironic that governments say they don't have the money to run services, hospitals and schools yet they quickly find it when it comes to propping up a largely unregulated banking system operated by the few."

Riots

Post the banking crisis, there followed an election and a new Conservative government after some 14 years of Labour rule. The new administration set about implementing an austerity agenda which would have an immediate effect on the lower orders of society, tripling student fees, slashing welfare benefits, decimating prison budgets and rehabilitation schemes, slashing arts budgets and a reduction in youth empowerment. It was little wonder when just over a year of this draconian measures that the youth took to the streets. The spark was the police slaying of an unarmed man in Tottenham. Riots spread countrywide and it is undeniable that the vast majority of the rioters were under 25.  UK Unrest

The Banks

Then almost a year later, news broke of a British rogue trader who nearly bankrupted UBS bank, one of the largest banks in the world. I watched the story unfold, mesmerised by the scale of the debt and the meek, humble nature of the accused man, Kweku Adoboli. Despite the crazy and inaccurate press headlines, Adoboli led quite an austere existence considering his high earnings. He clearly wasn't in the business of stealing money for himself. So I began to research the story, the man and the system that could allow such an event to unfold at a time when the country was suffering from austerity.

Dare To Do

In 2011, whilst working with director, Jeffery Kissoon on my play, Where The Flowers Grow at the Warehouse Theatre we began a discussion about theatre exploring the criminal justice system. I decided to write a one man show. Within a few months I had a first draft. The idea was to use the well-worn idea of successful black man being thrown in jail and spin it on its head. Rather than successful black man thrown in jail, losing everything, it became successful black man thrown in jail gaining everything, becoming even more successful upon leaving prison. I was fascinated by the collision of these two different worlds, seemingly unconnected, yet who cannot exist without each other. In fact it isclear the banking fraternity actually relies on the ignorance and financial support of the public... during the crisis I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of bankers who were prosecuted for fraudulent or negligent activty. And yet humongous amounts of public money was used to bail out the system. But the bankers still collected their bonus'.

Show opens 29 May

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