Rendition – Hidden Door 2017/ Manipulate Festival 2018/ Development Dec 2018/ Touring 2019

Update June 2018. ‘Rendition’ has undergone research and development in 2017 and 2018. It is a performance installation drawing on data from the Rendition Project with advisory support from Professor Ruth Blakeley. Tragic Carpet is keen to hear from partners and advisers interested in supporting us to accelerate the development and touring of this piece.

“Extraordinary rendition is the transfer—without legal process—of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation” Between 2001 and 2009 over 130 individuals have been held and tortured as part of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme.



“I was told during this period that I was one of the first to receive these interrogation techniques, so no rules applied. It felt like they were experimenting and trying out techniques to be used later on other people.”

Rendition uses puppetry, soundscapes, object, shadow and visual theatre to explore the collusion between the CIA and the British Government; the juxtaposition between extreme vulnerability and absolute power; and the story of one man’s experience as the first suspect to be taken into the CIA detention programme.

This work in progress was first performed at The Hidden Door Festival in May 2017 and then at Manipulate Snapshots at the Traverser in February 2018 . It seeks to find a way in to the excellent research resource that is The Rendition Project* and to visualise some of the information contained within its freely available databases. Professor Ruth Blakeley of Sheffield University acted as adviser to the project.


The process focussed on finding ways of visualising data and on revealing the human stories behind that data. Some ideas have not made it into this version of Rendition but will be revisited in the next phase of its development. At that stage Tragic Carpet will work with Sylvia Dow, playwright, Emma King and Elspeth Chapman performers and puppeteers, Gavin Glover Puppetry Director, Pete Searle Production Manager and venue creation to develop these vignettes into a full length play.

Review by Puppet Place on Snapshots at Manipulate 2018

Among the fledgling works were some stand out performances, notably ‘Hand//Shake’ by Katie Armstrong, a short dance performance executed with great expertise and humour, and ‘Rendition’ by Freda O’Byrne from the Curious School of Puppetry, which is shaping up to be a moving production that will shine a light on the de-humanising practices detainees have been subjected to on CIA detention.”

*The Rendition Project is a unique collaboration between academics and human
rights practitioners, which is focused on undertaking and publishing original
research into the CIA’s torture programme –