Extinction Rebellion 2019 – the Red Brigade

The Red Brigade was created for the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, and an evolution of white characters we created for the Anti-Iraq war demonstrations in 2003. These in turn, were based on characters from a slow motion show called ‘Blanco’ we began as a street performance troupe in the 90’s. This show had a very powerful mesmerising effect, with slow motion movements synchronised and performed in static tableaux, utilising existing architecture and public spaces.
The choice of red as the colour was partly simple aesthetics, and partly symbolic, creating a very strong contrasting visual and resonating with emotive responses to the colour, red symbolising blood, danger, passion, stop signs etc. The response from public and press was far more than we imagined, as we became a mobile photo shoot, as well as a calming presence in more front line situations.
We would parade between different locations, improvising with our environment to create tableaux moments as well as creating beautiful disruptions taking over streets. The troupe formed with who ever was available, both from our Bristol networks as well as people we met at the rebellion. Keeping it simple and slow created a mournful and engaging spectacle that resonated with the moment in such a way as to become symbolic of the rebellion in some way, and was featured in news media globally.
The Red Brigade is now expanding, with people getting in touch from different cities and countries wanting to establish groups to participate in various actions and demonstrations. We are currently creating a website to host ‘how to’ videos as well as archive the project and be a networking platform. The Facebook group we set up has continued to grow with over 1000 members currently joined, and Brigades forming in several countries world wide!
I am incredibly proud of what we achieved together, and the passion and dedication of all who participated, to create something beautiful and powerful as a means of communicating this most important and urgent of messages to the world.