Brixton’s new theatre, Brixton House, has joined artists and writers to create an audio guide to the 1981 Uprising on local streets using voices from people who took part in the historic events.
The theatre has teamed up with artists’ group non zero one, writer Somalia Nonyé Seaton and sound artist Xana to present On These Streets from 27 August to 30 September. App developers All Seeing Eye provide then technology.
The interactive audio experience will guide participants through the streets of Brixton and invite them to witness, interact, and respond personally along the way.
Acclaimed writer Somalia Nonyé Seaton weaves fiction with words from verbatim testimony throughout the “reflective yet urgent” journey, Brixton House said today. The combination of creators’ skills would create “an experience far beyond a history tour”.
People taking part will be asked to consider why the forces behind the Uprising are as relevant today as they have ever been.
The hour-long guide is part of the overall 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance project to mark the Uprising.
It is a smartphone web experience allowing participants to shape their own journey and leave a personal response.
The responses will be used to create a physical installation at Brixton House as a lasting legacy of the On These Streets project.
Gbolahan Obisesan, artistic director of Brixton House, said: “On These Streets will offer a timely reflection on the impact and legacy of the Uprising from the lived experiences of the people of Brixton.
“We hope this audio immersive experience will provide unique insights and connect current generations profoundly to a not-too-distant past.
“We invite everyone to take the journey through Brixton and immerse yourselves in the story of the 1981 Uprising.”
Details and booking information on the Brixton House website.
About the creators …
non zero one
non zero one make experiences for theatres, galleries, museums, public spaces and online, where the participant is vital.
The group has developed a reputation for ingenious interactive work that connects people, including immersive performance (National Theatre, Barbican), finding personal ways into heritage (Science Museum, Imperial War Museums) or bending rules across cultural sectors (Fine Art Society, Wellcome Collection, National Trust). Their work asks questions, connects people, and invites audiences to see the world differently.
Group members are artists Sarah Butcher, Cat Harrison, John Hunter and Fran Miller. They work with technologists, app developers, educators, composers, filmmakers, designers, scientists and writers to explore interaction in all its forms.
Brixton House (formerly known as Ovalhouse) is a modern theatre in the heart of Brixton, due to open in late 2021.
It will be “a place for people to come together, to create and enjoy performances, to learn and share skills and to meet other people who want to make something together”.
Brixton House says it will “define theatre-making for a new generation of makers, artists, writers, producers, technicians and audiences, inspiring new experiences that develop community solidarity and passion for social change.”
Somalia Nonyé Seaton
Somalia is a British Jamaican and Nigerian writer and theatre maker, born and raised in South East London.
She was a Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist with Fall of the Kingdom, Rise of the Foot Soldier. Her debut play Crowning Glory was shortlisted for an Alfred Fagon Award.
Her work has been produced by The Royal Court, The Unicorn, The RSC, Clean Break, and Stratford East.
She is currently under commission to Royal Court Theatre (where Somalia has been awarded the Jerwood New Playwright commission 2020), RSC and The Young Vic. She is writing original screen projects for a number of companies.
Xana is a freestyle live loop musician, sound artist, vibrational sound designer, archival audio producer, audio researcher and theatremaker, who deconstructs words to make interactive looping music and composes scores for spaces through Xanas genres orchestral noise and thicc bass.
Xana blends Caribbean magical realism, Afro-futurism and elder sayings in their improvisational performance as a channel to “burn down and build anew”, inventing new streams of sonic layering and inviting people to be a part of making protest music.
All Seeing Eye
Augmented and virtual reality studio All Seeing Eye makes immersive installations and experiences that have received acclaim during their repeated selection for Tribeca, Sundance, Venice and SXSW festivals amongst others.
Aliyah Hasinah, researcher and script assistant
Aliyah Hasinah is a curator, writer and director focused on the nuances and beauty in mundanity of Black experiences. Aliyah has previously curated for Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (2017), Eastside Projects (2018), Bald Black Girl(s) by Ruth Sutoye (2019), Creative Debuts (2021).
In 2021, Aliyah founded the Black Curatorial Labs, a space for virtual and physical experimentation and play within the curatorial realm.
Her research into Decolonising the Curatorial was funded by Arts Council England to explore the contexts of Black curation in Brazil, Barbados and New York, as well across the UK.
Tobi Kyeremateng, project producer
Tobi Kyeremateng is a multi-award-winning multidisciplinary producer and writer from South London. Working across film, liveness and audio, she has produced for organisations inclsuing Vogue, PUMA, BBC Sounds, Royal Court Theatre, Tate Modern, No Signal Radio and more, and has had her work featured on NOWNESS, BBC Three, BBC Four, FACT Magazine and Complex.
Tobi has written for publications such as The Independent, Gal-dem, Howlround and LOVE magazine. She is a recipient of the inaugural Netflix Documentary Talent Fund to make her directorial debut on her short docu-fiction film, Owambe, and contributor to Black Joy (Penguin, 2021) – an anthology of essays celebrating Black Britishness, edited by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff and Timi Sotire.
Her debut non-fiction book, Theatre Sh*T: Reimagining Black British Theatre will be published by Jacaranda Books in 2021.
Tobi is the founder of the Black Ticket Project, a bridge organisation cultivating cultural access points for Black young people.