Life of Cobblers war hero Walter Tull to be retold in play

Walter Tull was an extraordinary man with an incredible story which is to be retold in the theatre.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 31st October 2018, 2:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st November 2018, 8:48 am
The actors in rehearsals
The actors in rehearsals

Tull 100, Now & Then Theatre's debut production, will investigate the issues of racism and war through the life of the former Northampton Town footballer.

The play is being supported by The Royal British Legion (with members taking a part in the play), University of Buckingham, Big Ideas and others and will be taken to schools and a special performance is planned for Northampton.

"As a Northampton Town fan I was well aware of Walter Tull’s life and the impact it could have if told to a wider audience and as a retired drama teacher knew that live theatre would tell the story in an educational, as well entertaining way," said director Martin Boileau.

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Walter Tull and his brother Edward

The son of an immigrant from Barbados, Walter Tull was born of mixed heritage at the turn of the 20th century, became an orphan at the age of eight, was the first outfield black footballer and the first black officer in the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War at a time when it was illegal for such a thing to happen.

These remarkable circumstances culminating in Walter Tull giving his life on the Somme in March 1918 are explored in the play. Tickets for Tull 100 are now available at £10 or £5 (concessions) and are available online.

Performance Dates are Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 November. All shows start at 7.30pm at The Radcliffe Centre, Church St, Buckingham MK18 1BY.

Walter Tull was a talented young footballer and he needed to be to get selected to play.

His career started at Clapton FC, then Tottenham Hotspur where the higher profile left him open to horrendous racism culminating at Bristol City when he was withdrawn from the game, consigned to the reserves before moving instead to the quieter backwaters of Northampton Town where he was the star player before the start of the Great War.

Walter was one of the first to sign up enlisting with the Middlesex Regiment, part of a 'Footballers' Battalion.

His remarkable bravery and leadership skills meant he was promoted to Second Lieutenant the British Army's first-ever black officer to command white troops.

He was killed in action aged 29, 100 years ago.