Liberation Squares

2 May-11 May

Three teenage girls forge an unlikely friendship as they navigate the world of social media influencer activism and its real-life consequences.

Fifth Word and Nottingham Playhouse, in association with Brixton House present


“[An] urgent story of gentrification, Islamophobia and friendship”
The Stage

“Whilst there is a hard hitting narrative, there is a beautiful blend of humour that enables some light relief for the audience.”
Theatre & Tonic

“Articulate and compelling… a thought-provoking experience that lingers long after the curtain falls.”
The Beestonian

“This is a fantastic and important piece of theatre, and something that is sure to get people talking.”
Elemental Theatre

Three teenage girls forge an unlikely friendship. They challenge each other with Tik Toks, beat-boxing, rap and dance routines… They just want to build their social media empire, or study astronomy, or become as good a rapper as Megan Thee Stallion. But they undergo a political awakening when they realise that what you say – even what you think – is viewed very differently depending who you are.

When they find themselves the target of the state surveillance ‘Prevent’ programme, they have to fight back. Friendships fracture and loyalties are tested as they pursue different avenues of resistance. In an era when dissent is being criminalised, what does it take to speak up?

This is a riotous, funny play told through the technicolour lens of three teenage girls. Inspired by graphic novels, hip hop, pop culture and real-world activists, Liberation Squares asks what it takes for young Muslim women today to be the heroes of their own stories.

Running time approx 1 hour 15 minutes.

Previous Fifth Word productions:

“Mufaro Makubika’s smart dramatisation.”
The Guardian on WE NEED NEW NAMES

“the significance of this play remain[s] immeasurable.”

“A compassionate, emotionally astute and often very funny play.”
The Stage on LAVA

“an extraordinary achievement of writer, director and actors… deeply affecting work on a too-urgent subject.”

Previous work by Sonali Bhattacharyya:

“Moving portrayal of sisterly love…I’d defy anyone to remain unmoved.”

“This timely and thoughtful new play”

“The story seamlessly yokes the personal to the political.”
The Telegraph on CHASING HARES

Creative Team

Written by Sonali Bhattacharyya

Director Milli Bhatia

Designer Tomás Palmer

Sound Designer and Composer Elena Peña

Movement Director Iskandar R. Sharazuddin

Dramaturg Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi

Creative Associate Nic Wass

Casting Arthur Carrington


Asha Hassan as Sabi

East Londoner Asha is best known for her series regular role in BBC Three comedy Bad Education. She made her professional screen debut in the multi award-winning feature film Rocks.  Other screen credits include the title role in the Film4 short Salma, produced by Slam Films (Stephen Mangan and Louise Delamere) which follows a teenager living in Grenfell Tower.  On stage Asha starred in the two-hander Cuttin’ It at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre for which she was widely praised.  She has recently completed work on a drama series for Disney+ from an acclaimed writer and director.

Halema Hussain as Xara

TV credits include: new ITV comedy series for transmission summer 2024 Horrible Histories (BBC), Dreamland (Sky), We Are Lady Parts (Channel), Doctors (BBC), Casualty (BBC). 

Films include: Supernova (BBC & BFI) and Mo <3 Kyra (Film4).

Theatre credits include: The Father and the Assassin (Olivier Theatre and National Theatre), Vardy vs Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial (ELP Productions, Ambassador Theatre), Dawaat (Tara Theatre 2021), Aaliyah After Antigone (Freedom Studio), Does My Bomb Look Big in This? (Soho Theatre).

Vaneeka Dadhria as Ruqaya

Vaneeka Dadhria graduated from St Mary’s University, Twickenham in 2019 with a BA in Drama & Theatre Arts. She is an actress, beatboxer, songwriter & all round creative. Vaneeka also leads Beatboxing/Theatre Workshops and has worked alongside Ambassadors Theatre Group, The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and schools across the UK.

Credits include: Cyrano De Bergerac (West End’s Playhouse Theatre, Harold Pinter Theatre, Theatre Royal Glasgow, BAM Brooklyn) and Unite – It’s Not As Simple As Black & White, The Lucky Mother Summons Francis Galton, I just Needed Cash (The New Vic, Stoke).

No performances currently available.