by Julie McNamara & Hassan Mahamdallie
Quiet Rebels brings to our stages stories of the white working-class women who crossed the colour line…
R&D 2 Summer 2020
“Gripping narrative, inventive presentation.”
A two-week Zoom development of Quiet Rebels’ narrative, digital and access process resulted in an online sharing nationally and internationally.
The drama-noir is set in 2028 in an imagined future. England is a racist authoritarian state, in self-imposed isolation from Europe and most of the world. It is in steep decline, gripped by economic collapse.
“I loved the investigative/film noir/sci fi format … a very elegant way of curating those stories, and engaged so beautifully with what it is to question history. [It] established a very affective world that allowed the more ‘personal’ moments to be real moments of contrast. I thought using the detective/narrator character as a form of integrated audio description in this setting was extremely inventive.”
In this dystopia white women who married “coloured” men from the Windrush generation and raised their children are criminalised as race-traitors. The children are labelled unwanted “Hybrids” and deported. Some escape this fate by being taken in by “The Multi-Resistance”. They are disappeared underground, their identity changed and brought up by sympathetic families as their own.
“I loved the play … powerful, gripping and thought provoking. This kind of dystopian drama is frightening, as it’s not too distant from reality or possibility. I was drawn into each scene.”
“The blurring of fact and fiction -the global scope. The integrated Sign Language Interpreter within the Zoom frame, which was great – served to remind me that this project is born of theatre.”
R&D 1 Autumn 2019
(funded by Arts Council England, supported by The Albany)
“A really deep and powerful experience that has left me with a renewed sense of justice for the many unheard voices.”
Following extensive research and interviews with women from across UK, Australia, USA and Europe, a two week R&D at The Albany, brought together a diverse creative team.
Tender and moving stories emerged of women, men and children of mixed relationships, who faced hostility from 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.
“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.”
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.
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/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.