David Edgar (described by the RSC as one of our greatest living playwrights) in conversation with Jon Bloomfield whose oral history of Britain’s second city offers an antidote to the fear-mongering of the tabloid press in telling the stories of fifty migrants from thirteen different countries from Ireland to India, Pakistan to Poland, the Caribbean to Somalia.
‘analytical and compelling and at the same time persuasive and moving.’ Charles Clarke, former Home Secretary
‘exhilarating to read about the energy and creativity generated by diverse Britons living together in a shared space.’ Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
‘tight, energetic prose’ Observer
Jon Bloomfield had a grandparent who grew up near Warsaw, another in present day Ukraine, and one in Romania. They all remade their lives in the East End of London. Jon, an historian and an urban policy specialist, having previously worked for Coventry and Birmingham City Councils, has lived and worked in Birmingham for 40 years. For over a decade he has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham and contributes to various newspapers including The Guardian.
David Edgar was born in Birmingham into a family with strong past links to Birmingham Rep. David’s plays include the antifascist classic Destiny (RSC 1976 and BBC1), three plays about the fall of East European communism (including The Shape of the Table, National Theatre, 1990) and a number of adaptations, including Nicholas Nickleby and A Christmas Carol for the RSC and Gittas Sereny’s Albert Speer for the National Theatre. His autobiographical solo show Trying it On (2018-9) was described as a ‘triumph of confessional courage’ by Michael Billington in The Guardian. David was a founder member of the Anti Nazi League and is on the board of the Institute of Race Relations. He founded the University of Birmingham’s MA in Playwriting Studies programme.