AN interactive play exploring what leads people to online extremism, and asks the audience to join a Whatsapp group during the performance, opens in Bradford today.

Bradford writer and theatre maker Javaad Alipoor is bringing his award-winning play The Believers Are But Brothers to Theatre in the Mill at the University of Bradford from today to April 28.

The shows’ use of WhatsApp live group chat, putting technology at the core of the performance, has been shortlisted for The Stage newspaper’s Innovation Award and has achieved national acclaim.

The one man show explores the blurry and complex world of extremists, journalists and fantasists in an electronic maze of meme culture, 4chan, the alt-right and ISIS.

In particular it looks at how a modern crisis of masculinity leads people from different political views into an online world where fantasy, violence and reality collide.

Mr Alipoor said: "I feel really honoured to be able to bring it to my home town, and my home theatre. This is the first play that I have ever made somewhere else, and then brought back to Bradford and it feels like a real homecoming. I wrote and researched it here, and think it will land the most here, that’s why I’m so excited to begin its national and international journey in Bradford."

Co-director Kirsty Housley added: "In times of increasing political polarisation, where the way we communicate and the way we receive information is changing faster than we can keep pace with, we have tried to look at how these things are connected. How the way we communicate and the tools we use to interact with the world are in turn shaping the world we inhabit. Is there something about the internet that favours the extreme? What do we even mean by extremism? Believers creates different groups in different forms, and begins to nudge at what can only be said online, and what can only be said face to face."

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