The Royal Shakespeare Company to tell Can Dündar’s story in new play #WeAreArrested

When a journalist is sent a flash-drive containing critical evidence of illegal government activity, he is duty-bound to publish the story. But with the nation destabilised and divided, a sinister power is eroding the rule of law. What price will he pay for speaking out?

The Arcola Theatre’s first co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company is a vital story about the cost of reporting the truth in the age of fake news.

#WeAreArrested is a gripping play about fighting for truth in a network of lies. Adapted from a book by journalist Can Dündar, who was arrested for publishing footage of Turkish State Intelligence sending weapons into Syria, this deeply personal and universal story finds urgent new life as authoritarian politics spread across the globe.

Dündar was kept in solitary confinement in jail for 92 days while awaiting trial, after being arrested along with daily Cumhuriyet managing editor Erdem Gül in November 2015. They were charged with espionage, helping a terrorist organisation, trying to topple the government, and revealing state secrets.

President Erdoğan had condemned Dündar’s revelations and demanded he be given a life sentence. He was instead sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison.

When released on bail in the Spring of 2016, Dündar was shot at outside court, he lost his job, and was forced to live in exile.

Drawing on George Orwell for strength, he said: “In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

This new play book by the Royal Shakespeare Company is adapted by Pippa Hill and Sophie Ivatts from Can Dündar’s memoirs We Are Arrested – A journalist’s notes from a Turkish prison.

Can Dündar talks about new play #WeAreArrested by the Royal Shakespeare Company, adapted from his book 

The play opens at the award-winning Arcola Theatre in Dalston, East London, on 13 November and runs until 7 December.

Marking the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer, there is a post-show discussion with #WeAreArrested director Sophie Ivatts and Can Dündar on Friday 15 November. The discussion will cover the themes raised by the play, the process of making the show and the global relevance of Dündar’s story. The event is free for ticket holders.

Event details

Title: #WeAreArrested

Dates: 13 November to 7 December 2019

Times: Monday – Saturday, daily at 7.30pm, Saturday matinees at 2:30pm, and additional matinee on Wednesday 4 December at 2.30pm. Relaxed performance: Saturday 30 November at 2:30pm

Running time: one hour, no interval

Venue: Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL

Tickets: priced £10 to £22. Book online 


Main photo, top: Actress Indra Ové at rehearsals for #WeAreArrested, on at the Arcola Theatre 13 Nov. to 07 Dec. 2019. Photo © Lidia Crisafulli