Georgina and the Dragon to Premiere at Birmingham Fest 2024
20th April 2024
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An exciting new play by Ian Henery will premiere at Birmingham Fest 2024 called Georgina and the Dragon which features students from the Performing Arts Department at Walsall College and students from BOA in Birmingham.


The play will be performed at the new Birmingham Black Box Theatre at 19 Harford Street Birmingham B19 3EB on 13th July at 7pm.  The work will be produced and directed by Laura Liptrot and is supported by Poets Against Racism, Walsall Black Sisters Collective, Communities Against Racism Enterprise and Walsall College.  


The play was originally written in 2020 during lockdown caused by the COVID pandemic.  The genesis behind the writing was the murder of George Floyd in America and Black Lives Matter.  


And the original plan was for actors to perform it while maintaining social distancing rules at Gatis Community Gardens in Wolverhampton where they would then be filmed and the work would then be streamed internationally by Black Lives Matter and  supported by Castaway Arts.  


"It didn`t happen for various reasons" explained playwright Ian Henery "but lockdown was a very strange time for us all.  We finally got to understand how zoo animals feel, locked in their cages all day and watching with incredulity as images flood their way through the bars - the shocking scenes in America and real social and cultural change sweeping the world.  I wanted to write something in response to that and I have always loved the methodology of street theatre as an art form".


According to Ian Henery the link between theatre and St George is the play Henry V where Shakespeare has Henry V rallying his troops to fight the French at Agincourt for England and patriotism  with a call on St George.  


"I brought into all of that as a child growing up in the 1970`s but I always felt uncomfortable with the image of the armoured knight on a war horse slaying a sad looking dragon that looked no bigger than a dog. 


On the TV in the 1970`s was a children`s show called "The Clangers" with their adorable friend the Soup Dragon.  On the radio was the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" by the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary from a poem by Leonard Lipton which was, in turn, inspired by an Ogden Nash poem called "The Tale of Custard the Dragon" about a "realio, trulio little pet dragon".


Dragons were wonderful, magical creatures - and the song is about Puff and his playmate, a little boy, who grows up leaving the disheartened Puff on his own.  It seemed the myth of St George was less his contribution to English history and more to the equivalent of Medieval spin doctoring.  There was no dragon.  St George never came to England.  He was not born in Coventry but in Palestine and he is also the patron saint of Ethiopia, Catalonia, Lithuania, Portugal and husbands".


Ian dedicated the play to his 4 daughters and subtitled it "Don`t Bet on the Prince".  The play is about female empowerment, Georgina becomes St George and she slays outdated beliefs and stereotypes including sexism and racism which creates barriers to accessing things that they need to be happy.  Ian wanted his  girls to know that they could  do anything and could  confront the things that hold them back.  


According to Ian Henery, racism is a monster that needs to be slayed.  "I always liked the words of Nelson Mandela", he said:


"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion.  People learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite".


Georgina and the Dragon will be performed at Birmingham Black Box Theatre on 13th July.


For more information: or available on Eventbrite



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Ian Henery

Member since: 4th February 2019

Presenter Black Country Radio & Black Country Xtra

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