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michael essien i want to play as you…

"You might not know us.  You might not see us.  But we are training.  All over Europe.  All over the world"

Michael Essien I want to play as you… is a powerful and explosive football-dance-theatre performance exploring the line between hope and desperation for young African footballers who migrate to Europe to play professionally.  Six West-African footballers invite an audience into their world of training, politics, visas and contracts.

The financial explosion of football coupled with the growing success of African players in Europe has led to many Africans believing in football as a way out of poverty. While the majority of African players displayed by the media are on million-dollar contracts, there is a growing under-class of football-aspirants living in harsh conditions in foreign lands chasing the dream of a decent football contract.

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Concept/Direction | Ahilan Ratnamohan 
Performers/Devisors | Etuwe Bright Junior, Jimmy Nwaoze, Sunny Ibrahim, Praise Onubiye, Wemimo Nosa, Lateef Babatunde, Ibukun Akinfenwa, ID Noble, Essien Christopher, Aloys Kwaakum, John Obi Agbo 

Dramaturg | Kristof Persyn 
Lighting Design | Timme Afschrift 
Sound Design | Kris Strijbos w/ Ahilan Ratnamohan

Producers | Michelle Kotevski, Daisy Wouters, Filip Martens
Co-Production | Urban Theatre Projects [AU], Cultural Centres of Antwerp [BE], Antwerp European Sports Capital


2-8 Feb 2013 - De Loods, Park Spoor Noord, Antwerp BE
13 April 2013 - Atlas Festival, Antwerp BE
9 Aug 2013 - Theater Aan Zee, Oostende BE
27 Sep 2013 - Explosive! Festival, Bremen DE
24/25 June 2014 - LIFT Festival, London UK
26 June 2014 - Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock UK
26/27 March 2015 - Bürgerbühnefestival, Mannheim DE
2 April 2015 - De Centrale, Gent BE

8 March 2017 - Monty, Antwerp BE
24 March 2017 - SICK! Festival, Manchester UK