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‘The people of’ to premiere in Germany

Quarantine was established in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea with designer Simon Banham. We make original theatre, performance and public events with and about the people who are in it. Whatever form it takes, our work begins and ends with the people in the room. Over the last 20 years, we've collaborated with a shifting constellation of artists, performers and people who've never done anything like this before. Our work seeks to create the circumstances for a conversation between strangers...

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‘The people of’ to premiere in Germany

Posted: 4 September 2020

A new Quarantine project will premiere in Engelskirchen, Germany this September. The people of is an audio piece that takes place along a single street. Weaving in and out of shops, cafes and businesses, it reveals the invisible thoughts and unheard stories of the people who live and work there.

Lead artist Kate Daley has just spent three weeks in Engelskirchen with collaborator Ali Wilson, where they met and recorded interviews with local people. They’re working with sound designer Armin Badde and local producer Jana Winterhalter on the project, which will premiere at a new festival this September.

Nach dem Beaufsichtigen der Maschinen’ (‘After supervising the machines’), is being curated by Florian Malzacher to mark the 200th birthday of the philosopher and activist Friedrich Engels. The festival asks questions about the relevance of work today, in the face of serious crises and major changes. To what extent is our life today interwoven with work? Has life itself become a form of work?

Revealing the voices behind the faces of a working street, The people of will invite audiences to stop, to look more closely and to listen to the people who keep Engelskirchen going: the policeman who likes to cycle on his days off; the optician training to look everyone deep in the eyes; the daughter of Turkish and Syrian immigrants who sells kebabs but prefers goulash; the funeral director who has seen it all, and many more…

It speaks to the forces that shape our daily lives, how identity and a sense of place is formed and renegotiated, and the invisible lines that guide how we navigate public space.

The work has taken on new resonance and relevance since the COVID-19 pandemic. Made and experienced in a socially distanced way, it will inevitably reflect how coronavirus has shifted our relationships with work, with our neighbours and with public shape.

It’s been a welcome challenge to create a new work internationally and to collaborate with the people of Engelskirchen at this time. We’re delighted to be part of such a great roster of artists presenting work at the festival and we’re grateful to be able to make and present a new project, even while the UK theatre landscape is so uncertain.

Part of our 3-year ‘Locating the Commonplace’ programme, generously supported by The Rank Foundation, the concept for The people of was conceived by Quarantine ensemble members Kate Daley and Sarah Hunter. We hope to make many more versions of the project in the future – on other streets in towns and villages in the UK and beyond – each unique to the people and place where it’s made.


The people of will take place along Märkische Straße in Engelskirchen, Germany, beginning at LVR-Industriemuseum, from 25 September – 27th September 2020, as part of the festival Nach dem Beaufsichtigen der Maschinen, and then continuing until 16th October 2020. The audio will be available to download from the festival website www.engels-maschinen.de. Audiences must bring their own smartphone and headphones.