Dr Edson Burton has many strings to his bow. The Bristol writer, historian, curator of Come The Revolution and current artist-in-residence at Watershed has written an intriguing radio drama, Deacon, which airs on BBC Radio 4 on Friday, July 28 at 2.30pm.
Starring Don Warrington (Rising Damp) and Ashley Thomas, the drama tells the story of washed-up former boxer Mack who has an illicit delivery to make. His former boxing trainer, Jimmy, who put him up to the job, advises him that the less he knows about the job at hand the better.
“Oh, and don’t look in the boot,” he’s told.
However, details of his mission begin to unravel when he runs over an old man, Deacon, an enigmatic and fierce old drifter. Mack ends up taking him on the journey to Swindon, and Deacon in turns ends up changing Mack’s life, in a story that highlights how casual encounters can have transformative powers on us.
Burton says that Deacon’s character isn’t necessarily based on anyone he knows, but could have been inspired by the wise old-school gentlemen of the road that used to lodge at his home when he was a child.
The drama veers into the supernatural, and Burton explained how the genesis of Deacon’s character can be traced back to his PhD studies into the various religious voices and entities observed in post-slavery Jamaica.
Burton’s next focus will be securing the drama as a series, where the old drifter’s fascinating back story can be revealed.
In the meantime, he is using his time as Watershed’s Artist in Residence to develop his immersive theatre project, The Last Blues Song of a Lost Afronaut.
Read more: My Bristol Favourites – Edson Burton