Liberation Squares, a brand-new co-production with the innovative new writing champions Fifth Word Theatre company, and in association with Brixton House, is announced as the lead Neville Studio production for spring 2024 at Nottingham Playhouse. This important new play by Sonali Bhattacharyya is the story of three teenage British Muslim girls undergoing a political awakening and is directed by Milli Bhatia.
The girls forge an unlikely friendship when they meet at a creative writing workshop at the hip new workspace that used to be their library. They challenge each other – ideas, TikToks, lyrics, dance routines. But when they discover the workshop is connected to the state surveillance ‘Prevent’ programme, they have to fight back. The only question is how? Friendships fracture and loyalties are tested as they pursue different avenues of resistance
Liberation Squares is a story of sisterhood, freedom of speech and creative expression. When dissent is being criminalised and the state follows every move, online and offline – why does being an outspoken Muslim girl have to be so damn hard?
Sonali Bhattacharyya, writer of Liberation Squares, said
“The development of Liberation Squares has included a fantastic programme called See Me, run by an East Midlands based graphic novelist and illustrator and a group of teenage Muslim girls in the region. Early drafts of the play were informed by discussions on Zoom, during the pandemic, about their experiences and their feedback on the characters, world and story of the show.
“We can’t wait to bring Liberation Squares to audiences and are thrilled to be working with the team at Nottingham Playhouse on this.”
Adam Penford, Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse commented:
“We’re thrilled to be working again with our friends and colleagues, Fifth Word, on this provocative new work by the acclaimed playwright, Sonali Bhattacharyya. It explores adolescence and identity and asks some challenging questions about institutionalised bias. Alongside exploring some important themes, the writing is full of energy and humour.”
Laura Ford, Artistic Director at Fifth Word commented:
“Fifth Word are delighted to have commissioned Sonali to develop this important and powerful play that explores what it might mean for Muslim girls to become the heroines of their own stories; and what it costs them when they attempt to protest injustice.
“During the development process, we’ve had the opportunity to work with a group of young Muslim women whose contributions have been vital in shaping the further development of the script. The play puts young female agency centre stage and will make for a thoroughly entertaining yet thought-provoking piece of theatre.
“We are thrilled to be working with our long-standing partners Nottingham Playhouse on this brand-new production and are excited to support Sonali in telling this story to audiences on stages across the country.”
Liberation Squares continues the long-term collaboration with Fifth Word Theatre company following co-productions of Lava, All the Little Lights and Amateur Girl.
Liberation Squares opens at Nottingham Playhouse on 12 April until 27 April, then tours to The North Wall Arts Centre, Brixton House, Birmingham Rep and Northern Stage.
Posted on 10 November 2023