Dawn Walton, artistic director of Eclipse, the black theatre touring company, was bored of only ever coming across three black stories in British theatres - slavery stories, immigrant stories, and gang stories. She knew there was a far greater range of stories out there and she wanted to tell them. Revolution Mix is the result - a programme of new plays inspired by 500 years of black British history and it will be the largest ever presentation of black British stories performed in regional theatres.
In this intimate portrait of artistic director Dawn Walton, we follow her as she leads her company, Eclipse Theatre, to its premiere of the first play in her ground-breaking Revolution Mix programme - Black Men Walking. It's a new play inspired by a real-life black men's walking group in Sheffield. Not only does the play challenge clichéd representations of black people, it's also an experimental work fusing music, movement, and magic.
In this programme, as well as hearing from some of those involved in the production, we hear Dawn rehearsing her company, coping with a significant bereavement, discussing her life before entering the world of theatre, and finally sharing her ambitions for British theatre. Revolution Mix is an enterprising programme and in Dawn Walton it has a doughty champion.
Presenter: Ekene Akalawu
Interviewed Guest: Dawn Walton
Interviewed Guest: Ola Animashawun
Interviewed Guest: Testament (aka Andy Brooks)
Interviewed Guest: Dorcas Sebuyange
Interviewed Guest: Tyrone Huggins
Interviewed Guest: Trevor Laird
Interviewed Guest: Tonderai Munyevu
Producer: Ekene Akalawu.
A Brief History of Cunning
How cunning is Donald Trump?
In Queenan on Cunning, the satirist Joe Queenan explores a word rarely associated with the current President of the USA.
"From Odysseus to Bismarck, via Brer Rabbit and Machiavelli's The Prince, there's a fine tradition of tricksters and hucksters, but where does the Donald fit in the mix?
You need patience, intelligence, forward planning - some of these are Trump-like qualities. Stress on the some. But he's by no means a modern day Odysseus. Not much of a sailor."
With contributions from Adam MacQueen, author of The Lies of the Land; Edith Hall, who wrote a cultural history of Homer's Odyssey; and Tibor Fischer, whose forthcoming novel is called How to Rule the World.
Plus John Sergeant, Kathy Lette, Richard Nixon, Alistair McAlpine, Laura Barton ... and a campaigning American president cross-faded with a much loved song from The Jungle Book.
The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.
Inside the Killing Jar
The work of the entomologist very often involves the killing of insects in large numbers. This happens in the search for new species in the exploration of the planet's biodiversity and in ecological investigations to monitor the health of wild insect populations and the impact we are having on the environment. But the methods of entomologists have come under criticism.
Last August presenter and entomologist Adam Hart was involved in a citizen science project aimed at surveying the abundance and distribution of the various species of social wasp around the country. The survey entailed members of the public setting up wasp traps in their gardens for a week and then sending the dead insects to the lab running the project. Many people took part but the study also generated negative newspaper coverage and stinging criticism on social media.
The reaction got Adam Hart thinking: can his profession really defend the death of thousands and sometimes millions of insects for the sake of science, especially when there's so much concern around insect conservation? How do entomologists feel about killing their subjects, and might the insects themselves feel something akin to pain and suffering themselves?
Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.
Find Me a Cure
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia or CLL, is the most common form of leukaemia. It's a disease which kills. The most common treatment is with chemotherapy. If that doesn't work, most patients can only expect to live for another few years at most.
But there are dramatic developments with new targeted treatments which are less toxic than conventional chemotherapy. In this programme, reporter Simon Cox follows a medical trial based at St James' hospital in Leeds which uses a unique combination of drugs designed to defeat the cancer. It's the last hope for many patients but will it work? Can researchers find a cure?
Presenter: Simon Cox
Producer: Jim Frank
Editor: Andrew Smith
Image: Illustration of man in a white coat looking at a test tube
The Death of Illegitimacy
Illegitimacy once meant you were a 'bastard'. The MP Caroline Flint wants to know what the word 'illegitimate' means now.
Caroline has always been open about her unmarried Mum having her when she was 17 years old and that she had her first son before she got married. Caroline describes her own family's story as a Catherine Cookson novel. There are suspicions that her widowed great-grandmother had an illegitimate child. Her grandmother's older sister had an illegitimate child during WW1 with an American soldier who was brought up as though his mother was his sister.
She explores the archives to find out if the stigma has died out with social historian Jane Robinson and discusses the issue with best-selling crime author Martina Cole and fellow MP Jess Phillips. Martina, who is also an ambassador for the single parent families' charity Gingerbread, became a single parent by choice when she was 18 and then again 20 years later. Jess conceived her son when she was 22 and had been with her boyfriend for barely a month.
Is the biggest deal today not whether a child is illegitimate but whether she bears her father's surname? Has the cloak of illegitimacy really fallen because daddy is willing to say publicly: she's mine?
This programme contains archive clips of the stories of Betty, Ada and Gina from 'The Secret World of Sex: In Disgrace' (1991), sourced from Domino Films, copyright of Testimony Films - http://www.testimonyfilms.com/
BBC 4's Seriously... Podcast presents a rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds. Presented by Ashley John-Baptiste, this twice weekly podcast replaces the Radio 4 Documentary of the Week.
Listen to Seriously..., BBC Persian and Many Other Stations from Around the World with the radio.net App