Hattiloo Theatre debuts play chronicling removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Memphis

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 8:31 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A play detailing the decades-long efforts to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Memphis is debuting Friday at Hattiloo Theatre in Midtown.

The statue of confederate general, Nathan Bedford Forrest was removed from Health Sciences Park in December 2017.

“I think the impetus behind it was that there are so many incredible historical things that happen here in Memphis. However, they’re like blips -- they happen but then they aren’t archived,” said Hattiloo Founder and CEO, Ekundayo Bandele.

That’s why Bandele wanted to write a play about the historic moment. He titled it, “Tumbling Down.”

”It’s so exciting because it wasn’t just a culmination of what happened in 2017. This goes back -- the fight to take it down went back to the 1980s, but in the play, I went back to 1904, which is right before the statue was erected,” he said.

Bandele started writing the play in 2019. He interviewed key players involved in getting the statue removed including City of Memphis officials and leaders of the organization, Take Em’ Down 901.

“Everybody has their version of how the things went down, and what I did was said, okay, what’s the consensus...you know, cross referencing. What are those facts that I’m hearing from both sides.”

Bandele made is clear -- this is not a play about Forrest, but about the environment that the presence of such a statue created.

He took creative liberty surrounding the historic events, and hopes everyone who sees the play leaves with a new perspective.

”I want people to see that we can’t do it alone, and that’s what you see in this play.”

“Tumbling Down” runs through April 3rd with shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

For tickets and more information, click here.

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