Written and directed by Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara
A Dervish Productions and Vital Xposure Co-Production, developed in partnership with Soul City Arts, The Albany, Hackney Empire and Deaf Rave, supported by Belgrade Theatre.
Powerful storytelling about white working-class women who crossed the colour line to marry men of the Windrush generation.
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Forgotten stories of white working-class women who crossed the colour line to marry men of the Windrush generation. They defied race and class prejudice and social stigma directed against them and their families. A quietly rebellious generation of women who are part of the foundations of today’s multi-cultural communities.
Set in a dystopian England, Detective Shade investigates Aileen Burnett’s murder – a white woman who married a Black man. As a convicted race-traitor with four children, she had served time for ‘miscegenation’.
To solve the crime Shade travels the Multi-resistance’s Underground network to the Northern Free Zone where in facing her past, everything she thought she knew about herself and her world is challenged.
Film, movement, soundscapes with integrated creative access provide a powerful dramatisation of stories brought to life by Julie McNamara (The Knitting Circle) and Hassan Mahamdallie (The Crows Plucked Your Sinews) and a team of creative talent.
‘Powerfully innovative and fiercely political, Quiet Rebels unsettles and challenges the audience to ask important questions about the world we live in.’
Theatre Review on SocialistWorker. Read the full review.
‘Quiet Rebels provokes a much-needed conversation about the political systems that impact on us and determine the values our society aligns itself with. Indeed, the real ‘quiet rebels’ of the play’s title were women, whose love changed society throughout the chaotic political landscape of the 1960s. This demands the question: who are the rebels for today’s world?’
Colin Hambrook, Editor at Disability Arts Online. Read the full review.
Quiet Rebels Trailer: created / edited by Mohammed Ali, with footage and visuals by Stephen Rudder. Images used at 00:41mins (hand stocking leg) and 00:49– 00:53mins (man in flames; woman underwater; water) are credited to Mike Hoolboom.
Creative integration of access elements on stage, within the dystopian world play: the Quiet Rebels creative team is experimenting with a new approach to integrating access into the design of the production, using a vibrant, percussive soundscape and rich visual narrative that incorporates captions, British Sign Language and audio description to sew access into the fabric of the show.
Audio introduction to the play, set and characters
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham
Post show discussion: Tuesday 20th
Rich Mix, London
Capstone Theatre, Liverpool
The Lowry, Salford
Post show discussion: Friday 7th
Northern Stage, Newcastle
Arts at the Old Fire Station, Oxford
Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton
The Rose Theatre, Ormskirk
THIS PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN CANCELLED BY THE VENUE DUE TO UNFORSEEN MAINTENANCE ISSUES (Updated: 17.10.2022)
Sheffield Theatres, Sheffield
The Albany, London
Touch Tour: Friday 11th
The interweaving of live acting with screen and also written words, allowed for a more immersive experience and impact.
Loved the mix of audio and visual. The storyline was very interesting and thought provoking.
The performers were amazing and brought different types of energy to the show.
I was worried that my daughter’s friend who is mixed race would have been disturbed by some of the topics raised, but she was absolutely fine. They both now are curious to learn about Enoch Powell and what he did (wrong).
I thought this was incredible! Really really innovative and thoughtful. The sign language reader was amazing.
Awesome think it really worked, better than having a rubbish projection to the side of the stage for BSL.
Thought provoking, accessibility for all.
Unexpected, an intriguing tale, strong performances.
Interesting use of film and live action.
Superb performance, meaty subject matter that was expertly and sensitively dramatised.
It reminded me of 1980’s agitprop theatre and was rather bleak but intelligently written.
A very visceral performance that won’t soon be forgotten.
We loved the old lady Multi-Resistance character.
Loved the show.
Different, diverse and topical.
I especially enjoyed the footage of the women telling their own stories at the beginning of the play.
This production certainly provokes a deep conversation that explores some of the history of social policy in Britain around race.
Frightening and thought provoking.
Quiet Rebels is both inspiring and unsettling, most of alt is thought-provoking.
Everyone should be able to enjoy theatre, but [captions] really did fit with the sci-fi theme.
I love the title. It states a great truth about the real makers of history.
It reminded me of what I knew, but had forgotten.
A celebration of those who choose to resist, whatever the cost.
I found the variety of techniques used were interesting and engaging.
It was also quite an achievement for such a small cast to create so many characters.
Quiet Rebels, in both form and content, is a production as daring and edgy as it is courageous and challenging.
The Quiet Rebels production team successfully create a new inclusive approach. They use minimal set design, props, percussive soundscape and a rich visual narrative that incorporates captions, BSL and audio description. It does not simply tell a story but makes the audience think.
Powerfully innovative and fiercely political, Quiet Rebels unsettles and challenges the audience to ask important questions about the world we live in. It is a stark warning and a chilling reminder of a not too distant past.
Contentious, as all good political art should be, it fits well into the tradition of anti-fascist art developed by Brecht, Grosz and Heartfield. As Brecht said, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”
Christine Lewis, Socialist Worker. Read the full review.
A lot of thought has been given to access within the presentation of the play. Much of the dialogue contains elements of description held within the narrative to give clues about the various characters as they move around the stage. Much of the action is BSL interpreted through videography, projected onto the monolithic stage set. In a spirit of experimentation, creative captions are used thoughtfully, in instances where the signer is not present. There was also an audio flyer provided before the performance giving a clear overview of the action and characters
Quiet Rebels is a multi-dimensional piece of work, highlighting the social injustices endemic within our society. The truly frightening thing is that nothing iterated by the character Johnstone has not been expressed by a British politician. Furthermore, Quiet Rebels provokes a much-needed conversation about the political systems that impact on us and determine the values our society aligns itself with. Indeed, the real ‘quiet rebels’ of the play’s title were women, whose love changed society throughout the chaotic political landscape of the 1960s. This demands the question: who are the rebels for today’s world?
Colin Hambrook, Disability Arts Online, Read the full review.
Saw Quiet Rebels recently and thoroughly recommend! Themes chime with the research and teaching interests in Social Sciences courses. Powerful writing blending lived experience and fiction in exploration of systemic racism!
Prof. Geraldine Brady, Nottingham Trent University
Excellent concept, this production certainly provokes a deep conversation that explores some of the history of social policy in Britain around race.
This is a piece of history, a great story that needs to be told.
This play is truly a masterpiece, how the story is written and directed was amazing. 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. From the start to the end this was amazing and I understood everything. This is a 10/10 production and the director is at his A Game.
MC Geezer, Deaf Rave
Within the Orwellian frame, there was always something unexpected occurring, including the mobile set, the dramatic lighting/video which played its part in pushing the plot forward, and an excellent and varied approach to access: Clare was a storyteller for all, while for me as a hearing audience member, the captions added to the sense of claustrophobia – of being surveilled, notes being taken …
Naomi Foyle, Poet / Dramatist
The play was so many things at once – a tribute to the white working class women, including Hassan’s own Mum, whose relationships with black men often led to them being ostracised in their communities, to look at what can happen to a society where racism is allowed to dominate and also a celebration of those who choose to resist, whatever the cost.
Every detail is made to count, from the names of the housing blocks to the fascist salute of the regime’s enforcers, to bring home the sense of living under a racist totalitarian regime. What is chilling is that there are so many elements of this fictional dystopia that touch on our lived reality, not only the name-check of Rwanda that reminds the audience that we live under a regime that locks up and deports asylum seekers and immigrants.
Quiet Rebels is both inspiring and unsettling, most of all is thought-provoking.
Quiet Rebels is a brilliant ensemble production, ensemble playing at its best….The post show discussion in Nottingham was wonderful that night..it could have free flowed for another hour- the writers decision was to be provocative… The audience felt they owned the story and responses from the audience were both challenging and fiercely affirmative.
Quiet Rebels, deep respect for their own mothers and the way they stood their ground in the face of bigotry and racism….I think Nottingham is special in this regard…. Women’s history in Nottingham is a potent…long way to go to recover stories, but women are doing it …
Will keep thinking…. that’s what the piece did, it stirred you up, and made you feel right uncomfortable and got you thinking and talking!!!! What more could theatre wish for????
Tanya Myers, Actor and Stephen Lowe, Director
Chats Palace, London, August 2022. Photos by Becky Bailey.
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, September 2022. Photos by Rehan Jamil.
Interview with Writers/Directors
Hassan Mahamdallie (left) and Julie McNamara (right), Writers / Directors of Quiet Rebels.
Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara, Writers / Directors of Quiet Rebels, discuss the history behind the play, their research into people’s stories across the country that have shaped our multi-cultural communities and the resonance of those stories with present day events.
Writers / Directors
Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara
Lottie Bell (Aileen Burnett / Doctor Emmett)
Joe Conteh (Michael A / Jamal)
Deni Francis (Detective Shade)
Fiona Whitelaw (Mary Khan / Tracey / Betty Grogan)
Wayne ‘Pickles’ Norman (Johnstone)
Hassan Mahamdallie (Jed Barking)
Simon Kenny, Designer
Gabriel Finn, Lighting Designer
Stephen Rudder, Filmmaker / Visuals
Mohammed Ali, Digital Artist
Jeanefer Jean – Charles, Movement Director
Awate Abdalla, Composer / Sound Designer
Troi Lee, Deaf Rave
Paul Burgess, Creative Captions Designer
Crin Claxton, Production Manager
Matthew Green, Relighting / Technical Stage Manager
Farideh Didehvar, Stage Manager (until September 2022)
Bethany Fulcher, Stage Management Placement (from October 2022). Thanks to Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Isobel Hawson, Consultant Producer
Pam Kehoe, PR / Marketing Consultant
Bid Mosaku, Audience Development Consultant
Ali Clarke, Audio Flyer / Show Audio Introduction Track
Daryl Jackson, BSL Consultant
Clare Edwards, BSL Interpreter
Rehan Jamil, Filmmaker / Photographer
Teresa Garratty, Filmmaker / Editor
Becky Bailey, Photographer
Quiet Rebels is supported by Arts Council England, Garrick Charitable Trust (2021 – 2022), City Bridge Trust. (2018 – 2023), Unity Theatre Trust (2022), the National Lottery Community Fund (2022) and made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players (2022), and with thanks to Queen Mary University of London.
Quiet Rebels image
Margaret Chapman and Astley Roy Thomas are pictured together in the joyful 50’s style black and white photo against a futuristic dark brown background with coding digits. They both smile and beam with bliss. Their story is one of the many family histories unearthed by Julie McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie, and presented in Quiet Rebels. Photo with kind permission of Barbara Goodison. Image design by Mohammed Ali.
You can read more about the Research and Development stages of Quiet Rebels over the years with photos and videos of previous sharing of the work in progress.