If you haven’t yet been fortunate to see it, haven’t heard of it then you could soon get an opportunity to see Jamaica’s first parkour play. Fusing free running and the true story of the death of one of their own, ‘Run Free’ is performed by youths from Southside, Downtown Kingston.
A collaboration by local arts group Manifesto Jamaica together with the National Theatre of Scotland and others, Manifesto is currently trying to secure funding to take Run Free on the road next summer. Energetic and using skills we might not credit the youths with – indeed skills that they themselves never thought they had an opportunity to express with – what their performance has to say does punch you in the gut. Hard.
Two years old now, the project has had to overcome several challenges, but its biggest was what the youths themselves eventually channelled into the script.
“When Chadee didn’t show up on the shortlisting in the summer we found out that he had recently been shot and passed away. It was not the first loss for most of the youths in the programme but it was definitely a rough one because a few of them were there and additionally he was someone they parred with every day,” says Natalie Morris who runs the project together with her Manifesto colleague Lesley-Ann Welsh.
“Even though they had gone to the funeral I’m not sure if they truly recovered from the grief. This process truly opened them up to dealing with the raw emotions in a constructive way, in their own time.”
Want to support Run Free or do Parkour? Contact Manifesto Jamaica: +1-876-868-9422 or Manifestojamaica@gmail.com. You can watch the full video here: https://vimeo.com/144549316