Boundless Theatre and Guildhall School of Music & Drama are delighted to announce Kalungi Ssebandeke as the winner of the inaugural Big Boundless Show Prize.
We’re delighted to be awarding Kalungi with the Big Boundless Show Prize commission to write Black Terror, or Looking for Bill, a new play based on the life of 18th -century boxer Bill Richmond.
We launched the Big Boundless Show Prize, in collaboration with Guildhall School of Music and Drama and The Museum of Youth Culture, in early 2023 for graduates of Guildhall School’s BA (Hons) and MA Acting programmes. Designed to champion self-led writing practice, the Prize offers a long-term, tailored artistic development journey centred around the commission of a new ‘epic’ play. The Prize is unique in that it offers emerging writers and theatre-makers the chance to create for a large-scale cast, while spotlighting big stories that haven’t been told yet and bold ideas without a home in traditional UK theatre spaces.
Kalungi Ssebandeke’s play explores the life of pioneering black historical figure Bill Richmond (1763 – 1829), who reached notoriety for his success as the ‘world’s first Black boxing superstar’. Kalungi will shed light on Richmond’s extraordinary life and its impact.
Set in a prison, Black Terror or Looking for Bill introduces us to Teresa, a recent drama school graduate leading acting workshops for prisoners. Teresa is convinced by an introverted prisoner to tell the story of Bill Richmond, but as the story unravels, history and the present collide, causing both worlds to confront their demons.
Kalungi is a multi-award nominated actor, writer, musician and director, who graduated from Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2019, where he received the BAFTA Scholarship. His double award nominated debut play Assata Taught Me, starring Adjoa Andoh, was premiered at The Gate Theatre in 2017. He is also the winner of the JMK Directing Award 2023, with his production of Meetings by Mustapha Matura.
Kalungi Ssebandeke says:
“The Big Boundless Show Prize felt like the natural collaboration between myself, Boundless Theatre and Guildhall School, the place where I presented the first iteration of my play. The character of Bill Richmond fascinated me to the point of obsession. Having Boundless’ support is what the story needs to flourish.”