Protest Songs

I’m currently working on the sound design for a new production of a site specific play with director Rebecca McCutcheon.

One of the really interesting research strands has been looking at the role both of the mob and the bystander.
If you are witness to an atrocity and do not intervene are you as bad as the mob?

I’ve found this a particularly pertinent question with recent events. Technology is so immediate that the role of the bystander has changed dramatically; important and shocking events are now recorded and shared instantly. I’ve always found this to be a really odd reaction to have. I can’t pretend to know what I’d do if caught in the middle of violence on the street or an historical event, but I would like to think I wouldn’t stop and film it!

As part of these theatre workshops I’ve been looking at protest music to see how this could be used within the production. This has given me the lovely opportunity to sit and listen to all kinds of protest music, and songs that place the songwriter in the role of witness to the event. With the help of the fantastic cast of the play I have put together a playlist. This is by no means exhaustive!

Also, before this goes any further, James Blunt is indeed on this playlist. No Bravery  is, in my opinion, a fantastic song that bears witness to the atrocities of war. It has always shocked me how direct the lyrics are.

What have we missed from the playlist and what are your favourite protest songs? There’s always space for more!!

More information on the project can be found at

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Posted in Writing

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