Review of Windrush Play ‘Streets Paved With Gold’, a one-man play written and performed by Victor Richards.

On a warm evening on 21st June, 2023 we gathered at the UCLAN Media Centre in Preston for a performance of Victor Richards’ play ‘Streets Paved With Gold’ organized by Preston Black History Group to commemorate the Windrush 75th anniversary.

It was a full house in the small theatre in the Media Centre, including many members of Preston’s African Caribbean community as well as members of Preston Historical Society and other interested Preston people.

Victor decked the stage with items that resonated with the African Caribbean audience and treat us to a riveting monologue that explored the experiences of his fictional character, August Cleveland Johnson, from his life in the Caribbean, his decision to answer the call to help Britain rebuild after WW2 through the disappointing reception he received here in the UK to building a life here for himself and his family.

There were many moments of laughter and appreciation from the African Caribbean members of the audience with details that echoed their own experiences. Audience members also expressed the fact that certain moments brought tears to their eyes. There was music, ‘moves’ (as ‘August’ showed off his dance skills), beautiful dresses worn by ‘August’s’ wife in her younger days, and anecdotes through the years. The performance kept the whole audience spellbound.

Afterwards there was a lively Q&A session where all sections of the audience explored the subjects raised in the play – from confirming their own experiences to describing the similar experiences of other migrant groups in the past and also in the present.

It was an enjoyable and thought-provoking evening for all, and a fitting way to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMS Windrush in 1948.

PBHG would like to thank our partners, UCLAN, the Harris and Preston City Council for making this performance possible.

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