After a sold-out tour in autumn 2022, the journey of Quiet Rebels in the community continued in Hackney, our London home, where the spark for young people’s storytelling was firstly ignited with Creative Futures’ artists at Hackney Empire.

Drawing inspiration from the research and stories unearthed in the theatre play, writers / directors of Quiet Rebels, Julie McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie, led a programme of weekly creative workshops with and for young people at Hackney Quest, a local youth organisation.

Together with young people they explored ways to search and discover forgotten stories in their families and community, remember and celebrate people that have shaped Hackney’s history and what this means to them.

Guest facilitators Awate, Musician / Composer, and Deni Francis, Actor / Improviser, who had been involved in the development and the tour of Quiet Rebels, added their unique touch with creative approaches to storytelling.

Read more about the Quiet Rebels’ journey with Hackney Quest’s young people and their legacy: a song and music video of their own!

It’s been a year since we toured Quiet Rebels across England along with our co-producing partner, Dervish Productions.

The journey continues this autumn with a series of creative workshops with and for young people at Hackney Quest, a local youth organisation, led by the writers / directors of Quiet Rebels, Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara.

Drawing inspiration from the research and stories unearthed in the theatre play, young participants have been exploring ways to search and discover forgotten stories in their families and community, remember and celebrate people that have shaped Hackney’s history and what this means to them.

The group recently spent time at Hackney Museum, delving into the current exhibition At Home in  Hackney and the Block by Block display – and even re-enacting life in small local businesses, such as a barber shop.

Group of people in a museum being briefed by staff. Framed pictures hang on the walls behind them.

Hackney Quest group visit to the Hackney Museum. Photo by JulieMc.

The three photos in the banner above show moments from the group’s visit: three young participants re-enact a day at the barbers’, two members of the group closely examine a big replica of the Holly Street Estate flats and one of the young participants is about to become a chef as he puts on his chef’s hat.

A big thank you to Museum’s staff generosity during the visit a space that is ‘huge nourishment for creative minds seeking out stories’, in the words of JulieMc.

The workshops were made possible  with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players.

We are thrilled that Quiet Rebels, co-produced with Dervish Productions, has made it to the 2023 Digital Culture Awards Longlist by Arts Council England in the Digital Inclusion category for the innovative integration of creative access in the dramaturgy and presentation of the show, led by Writers and Directors Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara.

Using a vibrant, percussive soundscape and rich visual narrative with captions, BSL and audio description, access was woven into Quiet Rebels’ dystopian world unfolding stories of white working-class women who crossed the colour line to marry men of the Windrush Generation.

Through a combination of live theatre and digital media (visuals/pre-filmed BSL interpretation) access features were woven into the fabric of the show at all times. Audiences did not need to feel restricted to performance dates or times that met their requirements or worry about access provision whilst enjoying a theatre play.

Quiet Rebels toured to UK Theatres in autumn 2022. We had very positive responses to the creative captioning and pre-filmed BSL interpretation:

“Excellent I have a completely deaf husband and he is beginning to enjoy the theatre again with subtitles.”

“Very good. And works well also for non-native British. It helps to understand the accents.”

“Very accessible, I was included in everything, I didn’t miss out at all via the Sign interpretation on the screen that translated what been said via the actor and then the caption on the wall it was all crystal clear.”

Access features were seamlessly embedded in the play – key motifs of the storyline were repeated throughout the show, in filmed visual scrolls to sew the seeds of the story as it unfolds. These were not only used to remove barriers to arts and culture, but they matched the content and atmosphere: the BSL interpreter was a storyteller; the captions projected onto screens added to the sense of being surveilled and controlled by the regime; much of the visual world of the play was described directly through the narrative, seen through the eyes of the Detective as she carries out her investigation. Therefore access features enhanced the experience for everyone allowing to widen access to theatre as place and process to transport audiences to a different world, make them feel and interrogate the themes/stories presented.

We would like to send a massive ‘thank you‘ to everyone involved in bringing this play to life.

The full Longlist for the 2023 Digital Culture Awards can be found here: https://digitalculturenetwork.org.uk/news/2023-digital-culture-awards-longlist/ 

The Vital Xposure team would like to congratulate all peers nominated for the Award!

Read more audience comments and reviews of Quiet Rebels.