PMJ Productions has announced a packed schedule of more than 18 themed, post-show talkbacks to accompany its European premiere of Selina Fillinger’s Faceless this month at London’s Park Theatre. The play is inspired by a true court case about a 19-year-old Denver court case who tried to fly to Syria to join Isis in 2014, and the wide-ranging, related discussions involve experts on faith, radicalisation, social media and cyber-security, as well as events with the production’s charity partner, the NSPCC. View the full schedule below – and then get booking!
Faceless highlights the power of the internet and its far-reaching consequences in the 21st century. Inspired by a real events, this insightful play follows the life of Susie, a suburban Chicago teenager who converts online from Christianity to Islam and tries to reach Syria. In the ensuing court case, she finds herself portrayed as an enemy of the state and is prosecuted by a young female Muslim lawyer.
The cast of Faceless are Fiona Gent (as Susie), Paige Round, Sam Thorpe-Spinks, Matt Mella and Fearon McElroy. The production is directed and designed by Prav MJ and has music composed by Jose Albela, with lighting by Gareth Prentice and sound by Joe Dines.
Chicago-based actor and writer Selina Fillinger flies to London specially for the production and kicks of the post-show Q&A series on 17 April. Other speakers include barrister Tunde Okewale MBE and journalist James Fergusson, the author of Al-Britannia, My Country – A Journey through Muslim Britain.
PMJ Productions has partnered with young people’s health and well-being charity NSPCC. There will be Helpline counsellors available for schools that attend, a flyer given to the audience with information about Childline (for children and young people), the NSPCC Helpline (for adults) and other helplines that advise adults, parents, and professionals with the issues. As part of the Q&As open to all members of the public, there will be three with NSPCC experts, including on 26 April 2018, one with John Cameron OBE, Head of Helplines at NSPCC, on the importance of helpline support. Full schedule below.
Faceless runs from 17 April to 13 May 2018 at the Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP, London SE1 7NN, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.45pm, and Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3.15pm. Tickets are priced £18 (concessions £16.50, previews £14.50). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Photography by Rebecca Rayne.
All of these free post-show talks take place in the theatre directly after the show. No separate tickets required.
Tuesday 17 April:
Faceless playwright Selina Fillinger
Selina Fillinger discusses the inspiration and process behind her professional playwriting debut, Faceless. The play was commissioned while still a student at Northwestern University and the subsequent production premiered at Northlight Theatre (Chicago, USA) in 2017.
Wednesday 18 April:
“A Young Muslim Woman in the West” Merium Bhuiyan
Merium Bhuiyan is a trustee of Holloway Educational and Culture Centre. She is known for her interest in promoting diversity and empowering others through her private teaching of English and Maths and spends her free time in consulting roles for several charities to give back to the community. Merium also founded CakeFace Makeup, a personalised lifestyle and beauty service operating across the UK and Middle East.
Friday 20 April:
“Leaving Faith Behind” Aliyah Saleem
Aliyah Saleem is a feminist social activist who has campaigned on issues regarding fundamentalist religion, women’s rights, apostasy and secular education. She has written for The Times, the online magazine Sedaa and has made documentaries with the BBC and the Economist. She is the co-editor and co-author of Leaving Faith Behind: The journeys and perspectives of people who have chosen to leave Islam. She is an English MA student at Brunel University and a researcher at the House of Lords.
Saturday 21 April:
“Trust Me” London Grid for Learning’s Penny Patterson
Penny Patterson is a safeguarding advisor in the London Borough of Havering, a CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command) ambassador, a member of the UKCCIS (UK Council for Child Internet Safety) Education Board and the LGfL (London Grid for Learning) Safeguarding Board. LGfL partnered with Childnet to produce ‘Trust Me’ which was created after hearing from schools that they wanted a resource which would start the conversations around extremism and extreme online content.
Tuesday 24 April:
“Social Media and Connectivity” Maryam Namazie
Maryam Namazie is an Iranian-born writer and activist. She has worked for various refugee and human rights organisations including the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees and she was the executive director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees. Maryam is an inveterate commentator and broadcaster on rights, cultural relativism, secularism, religion, political Islam and many other related topics. She hosts a weekly TV show in Persian and English called Bread and Roses.
Wednesday 25 April:
“A Safeguarding App for Young People” SafeToNet CEO Richard Pursey
Richard Pursey is the CEO of SafeToNet, a British cyber security company that has written an app that safeguards youngsters from cyber bullying, grooming, radicalisation and other predatory threats. The software was launched in the UK in 2016 and filters in real time, incoming and outgoing messages on all major social networks and chat rooms, blocking harmful content before it is seen.
Thursday 26 April:
“Importance of Helpline support” NSPCC Head of Helplines, John Cameron OBE
The NSPCC helpline service and Childline are increasingly being used by adults seeking help and support for concerns for their children relating from the threat of radicalization in all its forms and terrorism. John Cameron will discuss the importance of providing confidential helpline support to adults and children.
Friday 27 April:
“Koran App” Ananas Foundation CEO Zeena Qureshi
Zeena Qureshi is the 26-year-old chief executive of Ananas, a new platform that provides insight into ideologies, the beliefs that make us who we are. They will be providing easy to use tools that can be used to better understand the related texts. Its first mission is to create a “living Koran”
Saturday 28 April:
“Technology and Identity” Hussein Kesvani
Hussein Kesvani is the UK & Europe editor of MEL magazine, a new online men’s interest publication in association with Dollar Shave Club. He is also a columnist at VICE, and has contributed to the Guardian, BBC News, the Spectator and New Internationalist. He moonlights as a podcast producer, working with charities and NGOs on producing audio content. He is writing his first book – “Follow Me, Bro : How the internet is shaping British Muslim identity” with Hurst publishers, due to be published in early 2019.
Tuesday 1 May:
“Al-Britannia, My Country – A Journey through Muslim Britain” James Fergusson
James Fergusson is a freelance journalist and foreign correspondent who has written for many publications including the Independent, The Times, the Daily Mail and The Economist. A regular television and radio commentator on Afghanistan and the Taliban, he is the author of four previous books including A Million Bullets, which was the British Army’s Military Book of the Year.
Wednesday 2 May:
“The Creative Process” with director Prav MJ and Faceless cast
The director Prav MJ and the cast will discuss the creative process of bringing Faceless to the stage.
Thursday 3 May:
“Internet Safety and Safeguarding” NSPCC Laura Randall
Laura Randall is a Senior Child Safety Online Manager at the NSPCC. We have asked government to introduce a set of minimum standards that technology companies must abide by in order to safeguard children online. Laura will explain that if in order to keep children safe online, everyone has to play their part. She will describe the critical role that social media can play in grooming children and young people.
Friday 4 May:
“Being a Muslim and a Secularist” Yasmin Rehman
Yasmin Rehman is a Board member of EVAW (End Violence Against Women Coalition) and the Cross-Government Working Group on Hate Crimes. She is also a Trustee of the Centre for Secular Space. Yasmin was previously Chief Executive of Greenwich Inclusion Project (GrIP) a strategic race equalities and hate crime organisation, and co-edited Moving in the Shadows: Violence in the Lives of Minority Women and Children.
Saturday 5 May matinee:
“Poetry Inspired by Faceless” All Change Arts
Since 1985 All Change has been bringing artists and communities together to develop original and innovative arts projects, which transform lives and make a real difference to communities in North London. The poetry accompanying and inspired by Faceless has been created by young women aged 16-25 who participate in B Creative – a programme of creative projects co-produced with young women for young women in Islington.
Tuesday 8 May:
“Free Speech” Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg
Jodie Ginsberg, is CEO of Index on Censorship a non profit that campaigns for and defends free expression worldwide. They publish work by censored writers and artists, promote debate, and monitor threats to free speech. Index’s aim is to raise awareness about threats to free expression and the value of free speech as the first step to tackling censorship.
Wednesday 9 May:
“UK Law and Terrorism” Dr Tunde Okewale MBE
Tunde Okewale MBE is a barrister from Doughty St Chambers and the founder of Urban Lawyers, an organisation that makes the law more accessible to marginalised groups in society. Urban Lawyers aims to provide inspiration and education to all who have or will come into contact with the law and/or legal profession.
Thursday 10 May:
“Responding to the Needs of Parents” NSPCC Helen Westerman
Helen Westerman is the NSPCC’s Campaign Manager for the North of England, working with communities and professionals to keep children safe on a range of issues including sexual abuse and exploitation, neglect and bullying. Helen also delivers workshops to parents about how they can keep their children safe online, exploring all the opportunities and risks that the online world creates for our children and young people.
Friday 11 May:
“Tackling Fundamentalism in the UK ” London Metropolitan University Research Fellow Dr Dhaliwal
Dr Sukhwant Dhaliwal has worked for over ten years in the women’s voluntary sector in the UK, for Black and minority women’s organisations supporting women and children fleeing violence and abuse. She moved over to academia in 2003 and focused on research at the intersection of ‘race’ and gender, age, disability, religion and belief. She is one of the founders of Feminist Dissent a new journal on gender and fundamentalism. With Nita Yuval-Davis, she is co-editor of Women Against Fundamentalism: Stories of Dissent and Solidarity, published by Lawrence and Wishart in 2014.