Rendition (touring in 2020)

By Freda O’Byrne

Military necessity does not admit of cruelty

Abraham Lincoln 1863

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

“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 ★★★★

Audience Feedback

“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.”

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

George Bush

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.

Rendition in rehearsal at North Edinburgh Arts

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.

Photographs by Lindsay Snedden

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.

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

Freda O’Byrne, Tragic Carpet’s artistic director:

I’m thrilled to be presenting Rendition as part of the Roxy’s 2019 spring season. The work started life as a solo exploration of the covert, post-9/11 practice of transporting and interrogating terrorist suspects. Deeper exploration on the topic led to a connection with Prof Ruth Blakeley of The Rendition Project, and a partnership with The Hidden Door Festival led to its first public iteration in 2017. R+D funding from Creative Scotland allowed further development of Rendition and this has been underpinned by collaboration with venues, audiences and creatives. Partner venues Platform and North Edinburgh Arts Centre supported early exploration with space, audiences contributed feedback and, through an intensive research and development process, fellow creatives Kim Edgar, Gavin Glover, Sylvia Dow, Pete Searle, Euan Jackson, Lorna Simpson and Emma King have all helped to expand the scope, imagery, form and ambition of the work. I’m very excited to share the finished version of Rendition with audiences and look forward to hearing their response.

Prof Ruth Blakely, co-director of The Rendition Project, and Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield:

The Rendition Project aims to provide comprehensive evidence of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, which are prohibited under international law. Without a strong evidence base, it is much harder for victims and their advocates to secure redress and hold responsible governments to account. Improving public understanding is also critical, and we are thrilled that Tragic Carpet’s ‘Rendition’ will bring the truth about torture to even wider audiences.


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.

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