Michael Essien I want to play as you…

Michael Essien I want to play as you… is a project which I began in 2010, initially inspired by an article in the Guardian which my brother passed on to me.  At the time I was going to be touring my solo show, The Football Diaries, in South Africa so I thought it the perfect time to start researching the so-called football slave trade.  What I’ve come to understand and see in the pursuing two years has let me see that the situation is so much more complex than that initial article and that while it is important that more people know about the ‘football slave trade’ the articles typically written are very sensationalist and tell a very particular tale.

Michael Essien I want to play as you… is an attempt to explore all the facets of the lives of young footballers that find there way to Europe with the hope of furthering their career.

I am trying to keep the possible outcome(s) of the Essien Project as open as possible.  My initial desire was to create a theatre show, in which victims of exploitation in football were the performers, using their football skills as a dance.  Over the last two years I’ve been very busy trying to realise this with the support of Urban Theatre Projects.  It is a complicated process.  The other aspect I am focussing on is producing a set of journals from sojourns to diverse countries based on the experiences at football migrants.

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