Play shines light on Trojan Horse ‘Islamist plot’ to run schools

The notorious Trojan Horse inquiry into an alleged Islamist takeover of a number of inner city schools in the east of Birmingham is the subject of a documentary play that explores the devastating impact of the affair on the city and those whose lives it touched. The Guardian reports

Based on more than 200 hours of interviews with about 90 witnesses, including many of the teachers, pupils, parents and governors whose lives were turned upside down by the events four years ago, the play will have its premiere in Edinburgh next month.

The play is the work of the critically acclaimed theatre company Lung, which enjoyed success with its Chilcot production, based on the government inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war and which was co-authored by Guardian journalist Richard Norton-Taylor.

The action focuses on five individual stories – a pupil, a schoolteacher, a governor, a headteacher and a Birmingham city council worker – set against the backdrop of Park View academy, the school at the heart of the Trojan Horse allegations. It also takes a critical look at the controversial role of government and Westminster in the affair.

Writer Helen Monks and co-author Matt Woodhead wanted to get behind the headlines about extremism and hardline Islamist conspiracies. Their research has unearthed many unheard personal stories of those affected, which they use to explore the way in which Muslim communities in Birmingham were demonised by the affair.

The writers spent two years talking to key players in the real-life drama as well as politicians, peers and civil servants at Westminster, and the many residents of Alum Rock who saw their tight-knit community torn apart by the allegations. It remains a divisive issue, locally and further afield.

“There’s still a lot of tension in Birmingham,” said Monks. “As soon as we started speaking about something that happened four years ago, people became really emotional about it. The word that kept coming up was trauma – this trauma that has left its mark on the city.”

Read the full article Play shines light on Trojan Horse ‘Islamist plot’ to run schools

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