Call Mr. Robeson. A Life, With Songs, Written and performed by Tayo Aluko.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Paul Robeson is a world-famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner. When over the years he gets progressively too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel.


Just as physical, emotional and mental stress threaten to push him over the fine line between genius and madness, he is summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, to give the most difficult and important performance of his career.

This roller-coaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable and eventful life highlights how his pioneering and heroic (but largely forgotten) political activism led many to describe him as the forerunner of the civil rights movement. It features much fiery oratory and some of his famous songs, including a dramatic rendition of Ol’ Man River.

Tayo Aluko revives one of the 20th Century’s most impressive but overlooked figures in this powerful, compelling tour-de-force performance, which was seen at New York’s Carnegie Hall in February 2012, and in London’s West End in October 2013.

The Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) is very grateful to UCLan’s School of Humanities, Language & Global Studies, the School of Arts & Media, and the Research Institute for Migration, Diaspora & Exile (MIDEX) for funding this event.

Winner, Outstanding Theatre Award, Brighton Fringe, June 2016

Winner, Best Musical Performance, Atlantic Fringe, Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 2013

Winner, Best Solo Show, Stratford-upon-Avon Fringe, June 2013

Triple Winner (Impresario Award, Best Actor, Best Original Work) London Fringe, Canada, June 2012

DOUBLE WINNER: Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence & Best Male Performer