Can words kill? Can a radio broadcast fuel massacres? How susceptible are we to media manipulation?
Rwanda, 1994. A radio broadcast sparks the most brutal genocide since the end of the Cold War. Rwandan society is swept away by the idea of eradicating a minority in the name of peace and freedom.
Twenty-nine years on, an award-winning dramatist reconstructs a radio broadcast from Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) – which was the principal channel for propaganda which helped to incite and sustain the genocide in 1994 – using eyewitness accounts, studies, and reports of real-life events during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
“Central to the project is the replay of an RTLM show, run by its hosts – three Hutu extremists and the white Italian-Belgian Georges Ruggiu. How racism functions, how human beings are “talked out of” their humanity – an instillation reconstructed by the author and director Milo Rau from documents and witness statements provides the answers to these questions so that people can feel and experience these happenings for themselves. During performances, the walls of the radio studio, which were built to match the original, turn into projection surfaces for a complex video installation with the selected stories of former perpetrators and victims. Here, the audience is confronted with the consequences of racist mind-sets. In doing so, Hate Radio demands that audience members be observers at the centre of the inner circle, at the centre of racist thought so to speak. Simultaneously it makes them the suffering witnesses of its destructive and inextinguishable consequences.”
The acclaimed Swiss theatre director, journalist and lecturer Milo Rau brings their award-winning piece Hate Radio to the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) from 19th and 22nd April 2023, after touring from the Avignon Festival and the Theatertreffen, Berlin to more than twenty countries. There will be a post-show discussion after the first night’s performance, featuring SURF Trustee Alphonsine Kabagabo, for which there are still limited tickets available.
For those unable to attend the performance in person, tickets for the Hate Radio Documentary Film can be purchased online here, starting at £1. The film will be streamed over the run of the live show.