Imran Perretta: A Riot in Three Acts

Imran Perretta: A Riot In Three Acts

27 Sep - 10 Nov 2024
Free / Pay What You Can

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Lancaster Rooms
New Wing

A new commission by Somerset House Studios resident Imran Perretta exploring riots or civil uprisings as recurring cycles of reclamation and loss through sound, sculpture and performance.

A Riot In Three Acts is a large-scale installation using the tropes and techniques of cinema, in the form of an expansive film set and cinematic score, to reflect on the narratives of our urban spaces and the social inequality and racial violence that shape them. It centres on the symbolic site of Reeves Corner in Croydon, the former site of the family-owned furniture shop, House of Reeves, that was set ablaze and destroyed during the 2011 London Riots.  

A Riot in Three Acts provides a stage for the conflicting narratives that accompany these collective actions, historically spurred by racist policing, anti-war sentiment, disaffected young people, and discontent towards exclusionary and exploitative government policies.  

In the main space, the film set consisting of a painted scenic backdrop and props replicates Reeves Corner as it exists today — a fenced-off area of disused scrubland, a site of highly contested land which could be found in any UK city. The cinematic score, A Requiem for the Dispossessed, composed by Perretta, aranged by William Newell and co-commissioned and performed by Manchester Camerata draws on the classical tradition of a requiem and serves as a sonic representation of a civil uprising and its aftermath, questioning who controls the narrative around how these actions are interpreted. Presented in spatialised surround sound by producers and fellow Somerset House Studios residents Call and Response, the installation mirrors the experience of cinema sound, locating the audience at the centre of the action.  

An integral part of the storytelling is Perretta’s old Blackberry handset and the now-defunct Blackberry Messenger (BBM) platform on which he received broadcast messages during the days of the London Riots. The burning imagery presented on the handset, is emblematic of the five days of civil uprising in cities across the country, following the shooting of Mark Duggan, an unarmed Black man, by police in Tottenham on 4 August 2011. 

The exhibition includes a programme of live performances, events and a 5-day workshop for aspiring creatives aged 16-19, and will be accompanied by a special edition of The Process podcast, hosted by Imran.

About Imran Perretta

Imran Perretta is a Somerset House Studios artist. Questions around power and identity formation underpin Peretta’s work in a post-9/11 world marked by austerity, state-sponsored Islamophobia, and the War on Terror. Recent exhibitions, screenings and performances include tears of the fatherland, Secession, Vienna (2024), The Condition of Being Addressable, ICA LA (2022), SUROOR for CTM Festival, Berlin and Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022), the destructors, Spike Island, Bristol, Chisenhale Gallery, London, the Whitworth, Manchester and BALTIC, Gateshead (2020-21) and Rotterdam International Film Festival; AMRA (in collaboration with Paul Purgas) for Art Night London, (2020-21).

Imran was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Artist Award in 2023 and was named a Turner Prize Bursary recipient in 2020.

About Manchester Camerata 

Manchester Camerata is the UK’s most relentlessly pioneering orchestra, constantly paving the way of what a 21st century orchestra should be. Led by its visionary Music Director, Gábor Takács-Nagy, and its artistic partners, Manchester Camerata has toured internationally, performing in the world's most iconic concert venues with the greatest artists in classical music.

Based at the Monastery in Gorton, Manchester, the Camerata sees a vibrant and exciting future for classical music, investing in the next generation of musicians in the north with its Camerata 360° Ruth Sutton Fellowship programme.

Manchester Camerata believes that music has the power to change the lives of people and transform the prospects of places. Find out more at

A Riot In Three Acts (2024) is commissioned and developed in residence by Somerset House Studios. A Requiem for the Dispossessed (2024) is co-commissioned by Somerset House Studios and the Manchester Camerata, by arrangement with NEWFORM MUSIC. Supported by d&b audiotechnik’s Soundscape.
Header image credit: Detail from a viral photograph of a person jumping from a burning building in Croydon that appeared on newspaper front pages on 9 August 2011. Photo: Amy Weston/WENN.