By Freda O’Byrne

A radical, immersive work using a mix of puppetry, soundscapes and projection to shine a light on post 9/11 human rights violations.

On the morning of 11 September 2001 the world changed forever…

Four coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States killed 3,000 civilians, injured 6,000 and set in motion a response that quickly became known as The War On Terror.

The Rendition Project is a unique collaboration between academics and human rights proponents, which undertakes and publishes research into the involvement of the US and its allies in human rights violations in the aftermath of 9/11. With information on detainees, the global network of detention facilities and over 11,000 so-called ‘rendition flights’, at its core the project holds governments to account for their actions, whilst representing the victims of their abuses.

Tragic Carpet’s radical new work, Rendition, uses these detailed research findings to tell the story of one man’s nightmare experience as the first suspect to be taken into the CIA’s detention programme. First performed at Hidden Door Festival in May 2017 and then at Manipulate Snapshots at the Traverse in February 2018, Rendition has been developed into a full-length work that aims to visualise the data from research findings using an innovative mix of puppetry, music, soundscapes, visual theatre and installation art.

“profoundly moving piece of total theatre… this beautiful, exquisitely made show, driven by a quiet but fierce sense of humanity”

The Scotsman by Joyce Mcmillan ★★★★

Rendition premiered in March 2019 at the Assembly Roxy Snug Bar which was transformed into an installation within which the audience experienced the work. This potent, immersive production shines a light on the collusion between the CIA and the British Government and explores the juxtaposition between extreme vulnerability and absolute power.

Photographs by Lindsay Snedden

Creative Team:

  • Freda O’Byrne Director and Performer
  • Sylvia Dow Writer and Dramaturg
  • Kim Edgar Composer
  • Emma King Puppetry Direction
  • Gavin Glover Microcinema and additional direction
  • Sarah Wright Puppetry Director
  • Pete Searle Production Manager
  • Euan Jackson Technical Manager
  • Derek Gilchrist Marketing and Communications
  • Carolyne Latham Critical Response Process Facilitator
  • Tony Pinchuck Graphic Designer
  • Lyndie Wright Marionette Maker

Audience Feedback

Audience members were asked for feedback after the 5-night Edinburgh run in March 2019.

“I was aware of Rendition and was concerned and welcomed the opportunity to discover more about it”

“It was something I hadn’t experienced before and it really brought me into the story”

“not just the proximity, but also the ability to walk around before and after the production to look at the set and interact with the performer more closely.”

“Being so close was perfect for this piece because, in a way, it made us all complicit in what was going on. The audience was a part of the action, and that really worked”

“…you felt involved on what was happening on stage and being able to walk around the set/installation felt welcoming and informative. I felt invited into the piece.”

“The performance did a terrific job of conveying torture in a non-spectacularization, non-voyeuristic way.”

“‘I found it very moving, loved the relationship between the actor and puppet”

“Liked the way the different views were represented, made me want to follow it up. We talked about it all the way home.”

“The medium of theatre and puppetry suited the delicacy of the work .The music, visuals, spoken word, puppet and performance seamlessly came together to create a harrowing piece of work.”

”I felt moved and strangely implicated in the tragedy. I felt compassion for the victims of Rendition and I also felt anger at the cover ups and inadequacy of UK government response to this violation of human rights law”

“Moved, touched and disturbed by the personal stories. Inspired by the artistry”

“The performance really struck a chord in me, it made me feel sadness, guilt, disgust towards the people it was about, it was an absolutely amazingly emotional performance!!”

“Everything about this piece is beautiful except the subject matter itself. That’s what makes it such a surprising and enlightening experience – because the content is shocking, but it’s so subtle, and all the more effective for that.”


Supported by National Lottery through Creative Scotland, North Edinburgh Arts Centre, Puppet Animation Scotland, The Rendition Project, Platform, Hidden Door Festival, Curious School of Puppetry and Assembly Roxy.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rendition-e-flyer-low-res.png

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