THEN came the Oscar ® winning movie.
NOW, following its critically acclaimed Off-Broadway run at the Barrow Street Theatre, and sold out engagements in Edinburgh and London, Billy Hayes is taking his riveting one-man show on tour. In this “engrossing,” “spellbinding” performance, Billy recounts the true story of his time in Turkish prisons and his brazen, harrowing escape. It’s an epic journey of self-discovery, a cautionary, yet uplifting tale of desperation, determination and personal transformation.
Hayes was arrested at the Istanbul airport in 1970 with two kilos of hashish taped to his body. The Turkish High Court sentenced him to life in prison. Five years later, Billy escaped from Imrali Island prison in the dead of night – rowing 17 miles across the Sea of Marmara in a raging storm.
On his return to the US, Hayes wrote Midnight Express. Published in 18 languages, the book was an instant best-seller.
When the iconic film was released in 1978, Billy Hayes became a mythical figure – a modern-day Billy The Kid. 36 years later,
he remains a cultural anti-hero known throughout the world.
If you’ve seen the movie, you might think you know Billy’s story. But you probably don’t. Midnight Express didn’t win any
Oscars® for factual accuracy. While the film was about prison – a chilling exploration of the depths of incarceration in a
foreign land – Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes is about the prisoner. It’s an intimate, gripping memoir that can only be told by the man who lived it.
Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes had its world premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August of 2013. Since then it has had two critically acclaimed runs Off Broadway and toured the world from London’s Soho Theatre to Melbourne Australia, with a return engagement at the Fringe in 2014. The show continues with various engagements throughout the United States and is looking forward to planned tours of the Middle East and New Zealand.