Someone to Blame: Play dramatising Sam Hallam’s life, set to debut at The King’s Head Theatre tonight
The tale of Sam Hallam, the young man from Hoxton who has spent the past 7 years in prison protesting his innocence, is being dramatised in a theatre production which premieres tonight.
In 2004 at the age of 17, Sam was tried and convicted of murder in a London street fight, but to this day maintains he wasn’t even there.
He found himself at the mercy of the justice system and two eye-witnesses, one of whom retracted his accusation in court, and another who admitted in court that when she accused Sam, she had been looking for “someone to blame.”
To highlight Sam’s case the director of The King’s Head Theatre in Islington, David Mercatali and writer Tess Berry-Hart have produced a play called just that.
The verbatim production uses police interviews, court transcripts, and independent interviews including Sam’s own words.
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“This is a potential miscarriage of justice and it’s important as many people as possible get to see this and understand the potential issues judge it for themselves,” said director David Mercatali.
“We don’t want to tell people what they should think and we believe Sam’s situation tells its own story.”
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David, who has met Sam in prison a couple of times, says Sam finds it hard to believe so many people are interested his case.
“Never in a million years would he expect anything in his life would gain him so much attention, he’s a very unassuming person.
“I think he’s amazed that we’re doing this play if I’m honest, I don’t think he ever expected anybody would take enough interest in his life to write a story about it.
“He wasn’t a politician he wasn’t a celebrity and he hadn’t set out to do something that people were going to write about - it’s just something that happened to him.
“What struck me most of all about Sam when I met him was this approach to this situation.
“It seems to be to take one day at a time, and not to allow the full implications of the situation to weigh down on him, to focus on the fact that he believes he’s an innocent man and that steps are being taken each day to prove his innocence.
“I thought it was an incredibly strong minded approach to his situation and what I most admired is he obviously feels he’s facing huge adversity but he’s tackling it with a presence and a courage which was hard not to admire.”
The play’s debut has coincided with an announcement last week that Sam’s case will be heard in the Court of Appeal in May, where crucial new evidence unearthed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will be presented.
“When you’re writing a play like this the situation is constantly changing all the time, and we were constantly needing to be aware of all the circumstances.
“This has been an incredible journey and from when we started so much has changed and there is still so much more to come.”
Someone to Blame runs at The King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street until Saturday 31 March