Guest post by Anne T from XRSA’s Red Rebel Brigade

In the melting pot of creative ideas and daring that is Extinction Rebellion it was inevitable that someone would hit on the right thing to focus attention on the hot and cold emotions we all feel when we contemplate the threat of extinction.

Red Rebel Brigade was devised by Doug Francisco and Justine Squires from Bristol’s Invisible Circus for the Extinction Rebellion Spring Uprising in London in April 2019. A year later, images of  silent protesters clad only in red, faces white and mask-like, have been seen all over the world, including here in Adelaide.  But what is it like to be a Red Rebel?

Red Rebel Brigade is a mystery, even to those who perform it. Many have tried to put the mystery into words, and perhaps a few have come close:

They are our consciences. It takes a while to recognise it but that just goes to show how dissociated society has become. The Red Rebel Brigade theatricalises a step-change on our journey. They make it look nice and easy, but we know it isn’t.

Mike Scialom Red Rebels’ Silent Sunday Sermon through Cambridge 23rd Feb 2020 in

A mournful and engaging spectacle that resonated with the moment in such a way as to become symbolic of the rebellion itself…

Red Rebels make audiences choke up. Even pragmatic British Bobbies have been moved to tears. People recognise the visceral feelings expressed in the Red Rebels’ silent performance.  Hope. Fear. Fierce love. Grief.

To be a Red Rebel, you have to believe in the power of the performance, even though you can’t describe exactly what it is. You know it has the same effect everywhere the red headress is worn and you have faith that you can make it work right here and now.

In 2020 the world is overflowing with words, but actions speak louder, so Red Rebels perform silently, enacting with their bodies the deep and painful things we feel now that we are faced with extinction. We remind ourselves and our audience of the realities of  climate catastrophe, the suffering of all creatures including humans, our grief for what we may lose, our trembling hope, our love for each other and our world.

If you are a Red Rebel, you face those feelings courageously. Fierce love for all things under threat drives you to do the wildly improbable. You change into your costume in a random bathroom in some city building, you paint your face ghostly white, you wrap yourself completely in red crushed velvet and bedeck your head with ribbons like a terrifying medusa. You parade slowly, slowly, unannounced through the centre of your town. You are unafraid.

You are no longer you. You are an other-worldly being come with a vital message. “Look. This is what’s deep inside us. This is what’s real”.

Adelaide Red Rebel Brigade was formed in September 2019 and welcomes anyone who has signed up to S.A Extinction Rebellion. We help you get costumed and learn the moves. Contact us via the MatterMost  channel “Ask Red Rebel Brigade” or email if you’d like to be involved.