In autumn 2019 we undertook a research and development period of White Pariahs, unearthing the hidden stories of white working class women who ‘crossed the colour line’, and fell in love with, or married Black men. The women risked hostility from wider society and often from those closest to them, to defy convention, cross the colour-line and marry men from the colonies. These ‘White Pariahs’ of the 50s, 60s and 70s demonstrated rebellion, defiance and courage in the face of racism and class and gender prejudice.
A new thrilling collaboration with Dervish Productions, that has brought together two creative forces to make this ground breaking work, Hassan Mahamdallie (Writer / Dervish’s Artistic Director) and Julie McNamara (Writer / Vital Xposure’s Artistic Director).
Hassan and Julie collected testimonies from mothers, partners, fathers, husbands, wives and children – all of whom have their own stories to tell. They invited 3 superb actors with lived experience of dual heritage families to work with the team: Fiona Whitelaw, Charlie Folorunsho and Deni Francis.
The initial exploratory work took place at Brady Arts Centre and The Albany, where the team presented the work in progress before an audience of critical friends and peers.
Tender and moving stories emerged, telling of women, men and children of mixed relationships, who faced hostility from the wider society, often from those closest to them. Ostracised by their own communities, suffering abuse and battling discrimination, the stories showed their defiance and courage in the face of racism, class and gender prejudice. These moving stories revealed extraordinary survival and lasting, loving relationships.
Photos from the research period at Brady Arts Centre. Credit: Rehan Jamil
The sharing event at the end of the R&D was followed by a discussion session, with a vibrant room filled with people keen to respond to the questions raised in the piece. We are grateful to everyone who joined us on the day, the Q&A could have lasted all evening!
“I love the way it is fluid and ambiguous in the script. I love the relevance of this piece. We need this work now! Great work in progress. Vital work.”
“Thought-provoking, poignant, inspiring. Love the richness of the stories against the bleakness of the wider political structures that prop up racism. Disheartening to realise we are moving into the same kind of racial politics again.”
“Great story-telling, would love to see more. So much history that speaks to today. It’s made me realise I need to stop being passive. Thank you.”
“Beautiful show – telling important stories really humanely. Interesting to talk more about white women entering BME communities.”
“Very powerful. Much needed. Good having both African-Caribbean and Asian mixed stories.”
Photos from the sharing event at The Albany Credit: Rehan Jamil
Creative Team (First R&D 2019)
Researchers / Writers / Directors: Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara
Assistant Director: Simon Startin
Designer: Khadija Raza
Project Producer: Isobel Hawson
Actors / Researchers: Charlie Folorunsho / Deni Francis / Fiona Whitelaw
Historical Consultant: Professor Hakim Adi
Movement Consultant: Jeanefer Jean-Charles
Photography: Rehan Jamil
Filming: Mohammed Ali
BSL Interpreter: Audrey Simmons
White Pariahs R&D Creative team. Photo by Rehan Jamil
For further information about the project or to enquire about the tour in Autumn 2020 please send us a message using our online enquiry form. Alternatively, drop us an email, give us a call on 020 8123 9945 or send us a text on 074 3242 18253.