Talking to Terrorists – Research

Talking to Terrorists is a play written by Robin Soans. It was first performed at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds on 21 April 2005.

The play is written in the style of verbatim theatre where all of the dialogue is taken from real interviews and then recreated on stage. The play discusses the importance of resolving terrorism not with violence or conflict, but with negotiations and peaceful discussions.


The play opens up with SS1 and her husband discussing terrorism as a whole, Phoebe and Edward then discuss children involved in terrorism and the politics of it. Phoebe leaves and Edward talks about the difficulties of being a young Muslim in Luton, which leads to a sort of flashback conversation between four Muslim boys named Momsie, Aftab, Faiser, and Jab. After Edward’s conversation, the five ex-terrorists (formerly members of the Irish Republican Army, the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Kurdish Workers Party, the National Resistance Army from Uganda, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade from Bethlehem) discuss their stories involving where they grew up and how they first became involved with terrorism. The four men and one woman exchange tales about their early years, some went to prison the majority of their young lives, while others held meetings with their groups members to discuss issues in their communities and governments. Act One ends with the Bethlehem schoolgirl talking about her life in Israel around Christmas and how she feels hostility towards local soldiers.

Act Two begins with the ex-ambassador and his partner Nodira talking about the ambassador’s duties. They recollect the first time the two met and the conflict of interests their relationship had on the ambassador’s profession. The ex-ambassador also discusses the military’s intelligence and their reliance upon information gathered through torture. He states his concern in a letter sent to London, which reads, “we are selling our souls for dross.” The ex-ambassador specifically states later that the evidence gathered under torture is incorrect and is morally wrong for London to support the American position by working with and using the American information. The play goes into a flashback of the ex-ambassador’s earlier years when he discusses with Linda, Matthew, and Michael about London’s information sharing, this conversation eventually leads the ambassador to come to the conclusion that it would be immoral to continue in his role.

Caroline is a Landowner and an MP’s wife. She was a victim of an act of terrorism, organised by the IRA. She was staying in a Hotel at the time of the bombing. She explains her experiences that day and tells the audience about what happened from her perspective. She is a reserved character who isn’t shy but doesn’t like to be in the limelight.

Sources: (Accessed 15th April 2017)

Talking to terrorists, how to end armed conflict by Johnathon powell (Published in 2014) (Accessed 25th April 2017)


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