White Pariahs – Quiet Rebels

Written and directed by Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara

Research and Development (Phase 1 – 2019)

Following extensive research and interviews with women from across the UK, Australia, USA and Europe, a two week R&D brought together a diverse team of creatives.

The final sharing was a moving, scripted 40 minute piece, based on the testimonies collected, together with ideas of design, film, photos, music and movement.

Watch the trailer below to get a flavour of the performance piece:

“What a memorable experience! I’ve never been in an audience and heard my own story told to me…”

“It’s so rare to experience that kind of dialogue at the theatre and it says so much about the vital nature of your work and the play.”

Audience feedback, White Pariahs R&D 2019

Research and Development (Phase 2 – 2020)

As we entered one of the strangest period of recent times, a global pandemic in spring 2020, Hassan and Julie continued to develop the work and shifted their focus to new, digital ways of working and sharing, with the support of renowned, Birmingham-based digital artist Mohammed Ali of Soul City Arts

The short trailer below offers a glimpse into the work produced online (via Zoom):

“That was the most powerful experience I have had on Zoom yet. Such creative use of the platform.”

“This kind of dystopian drama is frightening, as it’s not too distant from reality, or possibility.”

Audience feedback, White Pariahs R&D 2020

White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels brings to our stages stories of the white working-class women who crossed the colour line to marry the men of the Windrush generation who emigrated to Britain after WWII. This quiet revolution changed the face of our society, and created some of the most richly diverse cities in the world we enjoy today.

Authentic testimonies bear witness to the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit, where love trounces the idiocies of prejudice. Woven with the women’s stories who protected and nurtured proud mixed heritage families in a country driven by prejudice. This work bursts with the vibrant energy of the quiet rebels who remained alive to life’s possibilities outside the controls and constraints of the establishment.

White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels gives voice to these unsung heroines, whose courage and determination lay the foundations for this extraordinary multi-cultural society we are now. Based on people’s experience of the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ our past, present and, if we do not act, our future.

We pose the question “Were these women treated as if they had committed a crime against society? If so, what was it and what is the punishment?” Mahamdallie and McNamara are using detective murder-mystery pulp fiction and film noir storytelling as a way of exploring this crucial social history.

The story places us in a dystopian world where Enoch Powell has initiated race rehabilitation centres and we target people for the offence of miscegenation.
An exciting collaboration between the two innovative storytellers and theatre-makers, in partnership with renowned visual and digital artist, Mohammed Ali of Soul City Arts, the production animates the struggles of these extraordinary individuals who defied social conventions and establishment hostility to pursue their hearts and desires – at whatever the cost.

Mahamdallie, McNamara and Ali are staging these stories because they demand to be heard. Their joint vision and diverse perspectives uniquely honour these extraordinary stories, attracting wide-ranging audiences and participants who have been waiting to be heard and waiting to see the history and reality of mixed-race Britons.

Next steps

Spring – Summer 2021

In Spring 2021, the Creative Team, working in partnership filmmaker, Stephen Rudder and historian Professor Hakim Adi, will research archival film and photographic footage to lay the foundations for the visual imagery to inform the design and, to create online resources for young people and wider participants.

Composer and Rapper, AWATE, joins the Creative Team to provide the musical
soundscape for the production.

In June, 2021, theCreative Team will bring together the strands of White
Pariahs: Quiet Rebels through a two-week intensive development process.

Spring 2022

White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels will be presented online or in small scale venues. Unique online resources and participatory activities gathered through the year, provide innovative audience development opportunities and a unique historical legacy. Workshops, particularly relevant to young participants and post show discussions, led by Professor Hakim Adi, Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara will support the production.

Partners

Dervish Productions

Created by Hassan Mahamdallie, Dervish Productions explores themes relevant to 21st Century audiences by “amplifying voices from the edge”. Dervish creates high quality, political, multi-media work informed by authentic voices, created by diverse artists who are committed to and understand the diversity agenda and which engages with diverse audiences.

https://crowsdrama.com/

Soul City Arts

Founded by Birmingham-based artist, Mohammed Ali, Soul City Arts is committed to developing creative and innovative programmes of work that deliver against our vision of ‘connecting communities and transforming society through creativity’. We create high quality events and programmes that bring people together to explore commonalities and shared narratives across all faiths and none.

Their work is characterised by deep visual spectacle and an immersive environment that engages all the senses

http://www.soulcityarts.com/

The Albany

An arts centre in the heart of Deptford that exists to inspire, develop and support creativity for the benefit of the community. The Albany is an artistic and community resource where diversity and creativity flourish – a creative centre for learning within the community, contributing to the cultural, social and economic benefit of South East London. The year-round programme of live shows and events include music, theatre, spoken word, and family performance from world-class artists and companies that are reflective of the diversity of Lewisham and the local area.

https://www.thealbany.org.uk/

The Creative team

Julie McNamara – Writer / Director: is recognised as a national and international artist and activist in the Disability Arts movement. Driven by social justice, she is an award winning playwright and screenwriter and has published widely in poetry anthologies and non-fiction discourses on Disability and Mental Health. Julie is a Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Melbourne University, Australia. Recent work includes: The Butch Monologues: A powerful and humorous collection of secret stories exploring sexuality, vulnerability and desire, taken from interviews with butches, masculine women and transmen, living world-wide (national/Australia); Let Me Stay: A tender exploration of the impact of Alzheimer’s on family relations; Voices from the Knitting Circle: lifting the lid on the closed world of UK asylums and secure hospitals (Best Documentary Over 30 Minutes / Best of the Festival Award, Picture This…Film Festival, Calgary, Canada, 2018).

Hassan Mahamdallie – Writer / Director: playwright and director, is internationally known as a political activist, thinker, facilitator, policy maker and trainer in equality, culture, religion, history and arts. He authored the Arts Council’s Creative Case for Diversity. His published work includes Tell It Like It Is: How Our Schools Fail Black Children; Defending Multiculturalism (ed); monographs on Stephen Lawrence affair; Crossing the ‘River of Fire’, a biography of artist, William Morris. He regularly contributes to books and essays and was Common Wealth Theatre’s resident writer on I Have Met The Enemy (October 2019).  Work for his company, Dervish, includes the highly acclaimed The Crows Plucked Your Sinews (co-production Contact/Albany) – 2 national tours, Grahamstown Festival, South Africa, nominated for the Alfred Fagon Award.

On The Crows Plucked Your Sinews: “Is this the future of British Theatre? I hope so”.– Media Diversified. “…. is one of the most striking debut plays we have read recently at the Court…Hassan’s conceptual process is generous and pioneering.”  Lucy Davies, Executive Producer, Royal Court.

Mohammed Ali – Digital Artist: Art meets faith, identity and social change in Ali’s work adorning the canvas of walls and public spaces, which change the visual landscapes of the cities we live in. Ali combines street art with live performances, installations, digital projections and moving soundscapes. He has created immersive experiences for audiences throughout the world. From street canvases in New York, Amsterdam, London and Melbourne to intimate performances in the Vatican, Ali has used his art and collaborations with critically acclaimed artists, to produce unique experiences. An educator and curator, Ali is driven by a commitment to transform society, passionately believing in capturing community stories. Ali is a trustee of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and was awarded an MBE for services to ‘Art and Community Cohesion’.

Jeanefer Jean-Charles – Jeanefer Jean-Charles Associates: has worked in community settings, theatre, dance, television and film, including co-Artistic Director of her own company Bullies Ballerinas Jazz Productions, touring nationally and internationally. She has over 20 years’ experience as a teacher, choreographer and movement director. She has a passion for nurturing talent, and within the capacity of Creative Consultant, has led training and mentoring for artists, producers and organisations. Her work on large scale events is renowned, including amongst many other events: 2018 Paralympic Flame Ceremony, London 2012 Olympics, Greenwich & Docklands International Festival, Commonwealth Youth Games.

http://www.jeanefer.com/

Stephen Rudder – Filmmaker

Creative Director of Quiet Voice, Stephen is an award-winning filmmaker with 15 years’ experience making video pieces for all platforms, from physical installations to digital storytelling for clients including, UNESCO, The Museum of London Group, National Trust, Wellcome Collection, The British Council, The Arts Council.

Through Quiet Voice, Stephen works as a freelance videographer and producer, delivering projects from concept to delivery, documenting living history to bring unheard voices to light, producing insightful documentaries and attention grabbing installation pieces for major exhibitions. He works collaboratively alongside various communities to bring fresh insights and perspectives and help partners broaden access and grow audiences through digital media.

http://quietvoice.co.uk/

Awate – Composer: critically acclaimed Eritrean refugee rapper and producer weaves together psychedelic melodies and sharp, witty lyrics. Born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Camden where he was a Resident Artist at The Roundhouse, AWATE gained the respect of artists such as Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Lowkey and Pharoahe Monch as one of London’s finest writers. With Turkish Dcypha’s infectious, funk based production, AWATE’s critically acclaimed Shine Ancient EP and Happiness LP have been praised and featured on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and 6Music as well as Noisey, Spotify and The Guardian and garnered a nomination for Best Urban Act at the 2018 Unsigned Music Awards.

Having a reputation for energetic and emotive performances, AWATE has performed on every continent as and toured extensively with Lowkey as well as supporting Black Star, Ghetts and Shabazz Palaces – 2018 saw this London griot’s first headline tour with shows in the UK, Spain and the USA. In 2019 Awate joined the British Library as Artist in Residence for Unlocking Our Sound Heritage, delving through the treasure trove of artefacts in the sound archive to weave together a genre-being piece exploring the subject of diaspora.

https://www.happinessisopenforbusiness.com/

Professor Hakim Ali: Professor of History of Africa and the African Diaspora at Chichester University. Research includes African history, particularly in the 20thC. Early research focused on the history of the African diaspora in Britain, the political his-tory of West Africans and the influence of Communism and Pan-Africanism on anti- colonial activism and the significant, often neglected role played by Africans and those of African descent, in Britain’s history. Professor Hakim Adi has published numerous books, academic articles and appeared on television and radio.

https://www.hakimadi.org/

For further information about the production, please contact us