The Believers Are But Brothers

Javaad Alipoor


Javaad Alipoor is a British Asian artist, director, writer and activist based in the north of England. He makes theatre with and for communities who don’t usually engage in the arts. His independent work is formally challenging and politically committed. As Artistic Director of the community theatre company Northern Lines, he finds innovative ways to engage audiences from disadvantaged backgrounds. He also works with larger theatres and recently directed One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest for Sheffield Theatres. Alipoor has a keen interest in digital technology: he is a resident of Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio and a collaborator at the National Theatre’s Immersive Story Studio.

The Believers Are But Brothers invites the audience to explore radicalisation and extremism. It investigates how a generation of young men are falling into online worlds of fantasy and violence, encouraged by tech-savvy extremist groups. The piece asks the audience to use their phones and join a WhatsApp group in order to experience a unique and disturbing internet culture. A solo show performed with charismatic directness by Alipoor, The Believers Are But Brothers was co-commissioned by HOME, Transform and Ovalhouse. It has won a Scotsman Fringe First and has been adapted for television on the BBC.

The Believers Are But Brothers is in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In the press

"Complex... masterly... one of the most fascinating shows I have seen in an age" Financial Times

“An extraordinary, teched-up show... the buzz show of last year's [2017] Edinburgh Fringe" The New York Times

“Full of dark poetry and sheer analytical power" The Scotsman

Production details

  • Writer

    Javaad Alipoor
  • Director

    Javaad Alipoor and Kirsty Housley
  • Designer

    Stage and Lighting Designer: Ben Pacey, Sound Designer: Simon McCorry, Video Designer: Jack Offord, Projection Designer: Limbic Cinema
  • Number of people on stage

  • Number of people in touring company

  • Freight


    Available upon request

  • Touring Availability

    From October 2019
  • Scale of venue

    Small-scale (capacity up to 400)
  • Minimum performance space

    8m x 5m
  • Text-based

    Dense (important for audiences to have a good understanding of English)
  • Also contains:


In Edinburgh

  • Venue

    Assembly George Square, Studio 2 Edinburgh, EH8 9LK
  • Production dates

    19–26 AUGUST
  • Production times

  • Duration

    65 MINS
  • Audience capacity




Javaad is a very experienced workshop facilitator. Northern Lines is a company that is built on a “community based, professionally made” model, and works with around 400 participants every year to deliver community workshops in which some of Bradford and Leeds' most deprived communities devise responses to the themes present in our work. The company would like to provide workshops for organisations who book their work, to make links with communities and potential audiences they haven’t engaged with before, alongside their participation team.

Javaad has developed a series of participation workshops that can be delivered around the work, that use the same post-theatre of the oppressed techniques that he has pioneered with Northern Lines. These develop audiences amongst people who don't usually access work, develop mental health and well-being skills, and develop cultural capital.

Javaad will also offer a series of post-show talks on the questions of right wing Islamism and the revolutions in the middle east. He has published widely on both these questions, in books such as Fear and Freindship: Anglicans Engaging with Islam (Continuum) and Khiyana: The Unmaking of the Syrian Revolution (Unkant). He has been a guest lecturer on the Syrian war and revolution, as well as the movement for democracy in Iran, at SOAS and Leeds University.

Workshop numbers range in size and length depending on the needs of the clients.

Additional productions

The company's new production, Rich Kids, will be premiering in Edinburgh and is also available to tour. Working in a similar size and format to The Believers, both shows could tour together.