Case Studies

On 13th November 1967, Newcastle University awarded Dr Martin Luther King an honorary degree, the only UK university to do so in his lifetime. On accepting this award, Dr King made what was to be his final public speech outside of the US before his assassination in April 1968. In a moving address, he called for us to join him in the ongoing struggle against war, poverty and racism.

Freedom City 2017 brought together international artists, musicians, filmmakers, academics and community groups to inspire a new generation to contribute towards tackling the issues that Dr King spoke of in his acceptance speech.

On Sunday 29th October a great drama engulfed NewcastleGateshead, inspired by Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and epic civil rights struggles from across the globe, both past and present.

Out of the buildings and through the streets of NewcastleGateshead unfolded a unique afternoon of theatre, music, dance, circus and art to celebrate the courage and sacrifice of those who have led the long march for civil rights. Starting from different locations across the city, the stories from Selma, Alabama 1965, Amritsar, India 1919, Sharpeville, South Africa 1960, Peterloo, Manchester 1819, and the Jarrow March, Tyneside 1936 were woven together in a unique immersive performance featuring a local cast of hundreds.

As night fell, an uplifting climax on the Tyne Bridge brought the city to a standstill for a memorable moment of light, sound and theatre.

Thanks to all performers, participants and volunteers for bringing this amazing drama to life. Thanks also to all of those who joined us on the streets of Newcastle and Gateshead for what was a truly memorable event.