On the Ropes

Author(s): Dougie Blaxland and Vernon Vanriel
Company: The Production Exchange and Park Theatre
Running time: 2h 20min approx
Age recommendation: 12+

“I see a boy with a glittering future in the game, ‘cos you’ve got class, real class”

On the Ropes is a musical drama telling the story of Vernon Vanriel who arrived in the UK aged 6 with his family as part of the Windrush Generation and rose to prominence as one of the most charismatic and influential black British boxers of the '70s and '80s.

In 2005, having lived in North London for 43 years, Vernon found himself trapped in Jamaica homeless, penniless and denied access to medical care for a heart condition. What followed was a bare-knuckle fight for his right to citizenship with the British Home Office.

On the Ropes fuses live music, poetry and the duck and weave of the boxing ring into a celebration of how courage, dignity and a fighting spirit can triumph over prejudice and injustice.


Park Theatre, London

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