Liberation Squares

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Three British Muslim teenage girls discover the real-life consequences of the world of social media activism

Informed by extensive research and interviews, this new play reunites writer Sonali Bhattacharyya with director Milli Bhatia (Chasing Hares, Young Vic). Liberation Squares is a comedy about sisterhood, freedom of speech, and dissent in the face of institutionalised Islamophobia. The show premieres at Nottingham Playhouse (12 – 27 April) before 11 performances at Brixton House, London (2 – 11 May) and dates in Oxford, Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Coventry, Bolton.

Sabi and Ruqaya have been best friends since their mothers first met at Baby Rhyme Time at the library. They now spend their time making TikToks, choreographing dance routines, beat-boxing, rapping and hiding from bullies. They just want to build their social media empire, or study astronomy, or refine their rap skills until they’re as good as Megan Thee Stallion. However everything changes when the charismatic and provocative social media activist Xara enters their lives, who challenges them to speak up. The three girls undergo a political awakening when they begin to realise what you say and even what you think, is viewed very differently depending on who you are. Friendships fracture and loyalties are tested as the three pursue different avenues of resistance to scrutiny and surveillance.

Inspired by graphic novels, hip hop, pop culture and real-world youth activists, Liberation Squares asks audiences to consider what it takes for young Muslim women today to be the heroes of their own stories.

Liberation Squares was informed a series of workshops with young Muslim women from the East Midlands who fed into the early development of the play, helping inform the characters and narrative, and by extensive research and interviews with people impacted by the state surveillance Prevent* programme.


Ruqaya Vaneeka Dadhria          Sabi Asha Hassan        Xara Halema Hussa

Listings information

Liberation Squares: 12 April – 8 June

Further Information: Fifth Word | – Home