Tag Archive for: Hassan Mahamdallie

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.

A Dervish Productions, Vital Xposure and Belgrade Theatre co-production
Developed in partnership with Soul City Arts and The Albany

Vital Xposure and Dervish Productions are delighted to announce the UK tour of Quiet Rebels written and directed by Julie McNamara (The Knitting Circle) and Hassan Mahamdallie (The Crows Plucked Your Sinews).

Quiet Rebels is based on the true life but forgotten stories of white working-class women who fell in love with men of the Windrush generation. They defied race and class prejudice and social stigma directed against them and their families.

A drama-noir, with film, music and movement, set in England in 2028, a dystopian, authoritarian state where people who marry across the race lines are considered traitors.

“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, R&D Autumn 2019

“The detective / narrator character as a form of integrated audio description in this setting was extremely inventive.”

Audience feedback, R&D Summer 2020

Julie McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie’s extensive research gives voice to the stories of these unsung women, who faced hostility, battled discrimination and showed courage in the face of racism, class and gender prejudice, laying the foundations of the multi-cultural society we enjoy today.

The question is posed “Were these women treated as if they committed a crime against society?”

Film, movement, soundscapes with integrated creative access provide a powerful dramatisation of stories brought to life by the writers and a team of creative talent.

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, BSL and audio description to sew access into the fabric of the show.

 

Premiere: Saturday 10 September, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

UK Tour dates

 

“As our first show coming out of the pandemic, Quiet Rebels is immensely important to Vital Xposure, enabling disabled artists to lead the social justice conversation, and put our voices at the centre of our culture, where they belong.”

Simon Startin, Artistic Director of Vital Xposure

“I thought it would be exciting to work with Julie and Vital Xposure, and to learn from her and the company about the politics and aesthetics of disability in theatre. But we didn’t have an idea. And then the Windrush ‘hostile environment’ scandal blew up. At the same time, I came across a biographical article from the renowned educationalist Professor Heidi Safia Mirza, whose father, like my own, was an Indian from Trinidad, and whose mother was a white European, like my mother. I thought that her approach was a really interesting way of looking at the history of the Windrush generation: through the lens of these white working class women who fell in love with these ‘dark strangers’ and in their own way altered history, and shaped the multicultural society we enjoy today. I told Julie that I thought I had something we could both write about.”

Hassan Mahamdallie, Co-Writer / co-Director of Quiet Rebels – Artistic Director of Dervish Productions

“For me, researching these stories and writing this play, was vital to my mental health. We have struggled for 5 years in the courts and finally heard justice in the Royal Courts at the close of 2020. I have been seething with rage at the devastating impact of successive governments’ casual disregard of the contribution of Black people and communities of colour in shaping the country we live in today. And so Quiet Rebels was born”

Julie McNamara, Co-Writer / co-Director of Quiet Rebels – Former Artistic Director of Vital Xposure

A Vital Xposure, Dervish Productions and Belgrade Theatre co-production.

Developed and delivered with partners Soul City Artsthe AlbanyHackney EmpireDeaf Rave and Jane Morgan Associates.

Quiet Rebels is supported by Arts Council EnglandGarrick 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).

Photo of the diverse creative team at The Albany Featuring, clockwise from left: Theresa Veith and Simon Startin (Vital Xposure staff), Stephen Rudder (filmmaker), JulieMc McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie (writers), Deni Frances, Charlie Folorunsho and Fiona Whitelaw (actors). Photo credit: Isobel Hawson.

Team photo at The Albany Featuring, clockwise from left: Theresa Veith and Simon Startin (Vital Xposure staff), Stephen Rudder (filmmaker), JulieMc McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie (writers), Deni Frances, Charlie Folorunsho and Fiona Whitelaw (actors). Photo credit: Isobel Hawson.

It is our turn to share the joy of being back in a room after all these months and make theatre!

Earlier this autumn the R&D team met at The Albany for a rehearsed reading of the script.

In the meantime, Stephen Rudder has added his magic touch to the play’s journey by creating a visual and aural sense of dystopian future and the underground world where the action takes place in. A new trailer, edited by Mohammed Ali, offers a glimpse into the stories that will come to life on stage next year.

Read more about White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels

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.  This was the beginning of an exciting collaboration with Dervish Productions that brought two innovative artists and theatre writers in the same room: Hassan Mahamdallie (Writer / Dervish’s Artistic Director) and Julie McNamara (Writer / Vital Xposure’s Artistic Director).

Following the R&D in 2019, Hassan and Julie continued to develop the work towards a new theatre production entitled White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels. They decided to call the protagonists of the real-life stories ‘quiet rebels’ because they found them to be both ordinary and extraordinary individuals, self-effacing and courageous at the same time.

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

Navigating through online platforms of remote collaboration, the two writers brought the story forward to 2028, in a dystopian future where the glaring figure of Enoch Powell dominates, and Racial Purity Laws now control our communities. In part, Julie and Hassan wanted to show that history does not always go forward, sometimes it is thrown backwards, and our hard-won gains are erased. They also experimented with their own script writing, tackling the question how to translate the live theatre experience into online platforms, that have become the new, but so different, theatre stage during  the pandemic.

You can watch a short trailer of the Online R&D to get a flavour of the work produced (click play below):

Two online sharing events of the second phase of the ongoing Research and Development took place on Zoom in July and August 2020. The team used these events to test the story and ask questions about audience’s live engagement with the subject matter through online platforms. Thanks to the digital wizardry of Mohammed Ali, the creative team also pushed Zoom’s boundaries for creativity and the aesthetics of access within this work.

Below are a few screenshots from the online sharing:

We were amazed by the responses received by our critical friends and the insightful feedback towards future steps:

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

“I’m so impressed with the experimentation with zoom and pushing its (desperately annoying) limits, and I’m also fascinated to see what you take from here into next format (post-Zoom?). I also was mostly grasped by the moments when I could really focus on the story and feel more emotionally connected.”

“I really like the futuristic thread you’re weaving into the story,  it allows past present and future to coexist in parallel. A strong reminder to the viewer that times change but the human condition often remains the same.”

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

“I enjoyed the experimentation with the zoom format, both for its filmic qualities and its potential to comment on history and archiving.”

“I thought the way the read was tailored to Zoom (really engaging with the form, rather than ‘merely’ being on Zoom out of necessity) such a refreshing change from many other things I have seen recently.”

“I thought using the detective/narrator character as a form of integrated audio description in this setting was extremely inventive.”

“Wonderful textures, I was transported, ethereal but real point in time. The interplay of BSL positioning was too good. It felt dystopian! Yes!”

“So different to watch on this platform, chilling, confronting, well done!”

“Audio describing was on the point…well done”

 


Creative Team (Second R&D 2020)

Researchers / Writers / Directors: Hassan Mahamdallie and Julie McNamara

Digital Arts Director: Mohammed Ali, Soul City Arts

Actors / Researchers: Charlie FolorunshoDeni FrancisFiona Whitelaw

Actor / BSL Interpreter: Clare Edwards

Movement Consultant: Jeanefer Jean-Charles

Project Producer: Isobel Hawson


A creative partnership between Vital Xposure, Dervish Productions and Soul City Arts.

The second phase of Research and Development was supported by Arts Council England and City Bridge Trust.

White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels will be further developed towards a national tour in 2021 -2022.


For further information about the project  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 (SMS / WhatsApp) on 074 3242 18253.

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 FolorunshoDeni FrancisFiona Whitelaw

Historical Consultant: Professor Hakim Adi

Movement Consultant: Jeanefer Jean-Charles

Photography: Rehan Jamil

Filming: Mohammed Ali

BSL Interpreter: Audrey Simmons

Photo of the Creative Team involved in the R&D (from left to right): Fiona Whitelaw, Hassan Mahamdallie, Charlie Folorunsho, Isobel Hawson, Khadija Raza, Simon Startin, Julie McNamara and Deni Francis.

White Pariahs R&D Creative team. Photo by Rehan Jamil


The Research and Development stage of the project was supported by Arts Council England , City Bridge Trust and The Albany.

The research will feed into our the next stage of development in 2020 and the future theatre production of White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels (touring nationally in 2021-22).


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.

Tag Archive for: Hassan Mahamdallie