Hate Radio

about the production

On 6 April 1994 the aircraft with Rwanda’s President Habyarimana was shot down whilst landing. The event marked the beginning of the most brutal genocide ever since World War II. Eight hundred thousand to 1 million members of the Tutsi minority and the Hutu moderates were murdered in Central Africa in April, May and June 1994. The instruments of humiliation and murdering tools were used against people of all ages and both genders. They were simple: machetes, sticks and a few guns. In fact, the most powerful instrument of the genocide proved to be the radio and television station Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM).

Its geographical features earned Rwanda nickname the land of thousand hills. The name “Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines” thus triggers the very nationalistic emotions a propaganda station needs to incite. The ruling élite surrounding the authoritarian president Juvénal Habyarimana held to power by disseminating hatred among the peoples of Rwanda. The staff at the popular RTLM station worked years ahead on the genocide as a kind of electoral campaign. As the American journalist Philip Gourevitch wrote, “If there were anyone looking for a simple and effective tool to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, the RTLM station could have been the right vantage point.” The programming consisted of popular music, captivating sports coverage, political news, aggressive racist pseudo-analyses and commentaries, and exceedingly hateful calls to killing. The propaganda claimed that the root cause of all economic, political and social tensions and, particularly, the inconceivable poverty, were the Tutsis.  Over the nearly two decades of Habyarimana’s administration the propaganda split the public and radicalised part of the Hutus to the point that they were ready to exterminate the Tutsis and the moderate Hutus.

The Hate Radio project by Milo Rau is a faithful reconstruction of the RTLM broadcasting. Those who survived the genocide stand represented by actors on the stage. A re-run of the show hosted by three extremists from the Hutu tribe and a white man of Italian-Belgian origin is at the core of the production. During the performance the walls of the radio studio turn into a projection screen with a video-montage of stories of the former perpetrators and their victims. The audience is confronted by the consequences of racist’s mentality and becomes observer directly amidst the events. The reconstruction of the RTLM broadcasting draws from recordings and testimonies gathered by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The utterly touching scenic montage created by author and director Milo Rau enables the audience to easily penetrate the complex world of racially inspired hatred and, at the same time, to experience its consequences and suffering by the victims.
Ján Šimko

“What is brilliant about Hate Radio is the way it treads the line between the absolutely normal – the standard, coffee-slurping behaviour of any group of broadcasters working up energy in a studio – and the utterly unthinkable: the horror they are applauding, in the tone of a disc jockey promoting a new star. The combination of sound, action, verbatim text and intense, precise acting is unforgettable.
Joyce McMillan, 17 March 2014, http://www.scotsman.com/

“Hate Radio (2011) is a play about the genocide of Tutsi’s and moderate Hutu’s in Rwanda in 1994. The stage is occupied by a glass box. Inside we see the crew of a radio station at work, mixing racist rants with popular music. The station is styled after the infamous Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), one of the main instigators of racial hatred and violence before and during the slaughter. ‘Before 1989, Rwanda was just as closed off from the outside world as the Soviet Union,’ Rau explains. ‘Then it opened up, and “democracy” became the new buzzword there. RTLM came about because the UN urged the Rwandan government to have independent media! That is why I call the Rwandan disaster a democratic genocide.’


The people working at RTLM called their racism ´black power´. They smoked grass and hated Hitler. Their hero was Nelson Mandela. It really was that weird. That is why one of the girls in Hate Radio wears a Mandela T-shirt.’ During the creation of the play Rau discovered that his actors had listened to the same music as he had at the time. ‘Nirvana. MC Hammer, the American rapper. ”Me, the little rich kid in Switzerland, and them, in the middle of a genocide. Hate Radio is also about international youth culture.”
An interview with Milo Rau by Joost Ramaer, October 17, 2014, http://www.culturebot.org/


“Africa has represented a constant point of return for his production, following his Hate Radio play about the origins of the Rwanda genocide – that the Congo is a sensitive instrument to understand the relationship between Europe and the developing world.”
Joseph Pearson, 18 March 2015, www.schaubuehne.de


concept, text & direction: Milo Rau
dramaturgy & production: Jens Dietrich
set & costume design: Anton Lukas
video: Marcel Bächtiger
sound: Jens Baudisch
assistant director: Mascha Euchner-Martinez
production management & dramaturgy: Milena Kipfmüller
cast – live: Afazali Dewaele, Sébastien Foucault, Diogène Ntarindwa, Bwanga Pilipili;
video: Estelle Marion, Nancy Nkusi


Milo Rau (1977), Swiss theatre and film director, journalist, essay writer and lecturer. He studied German, Romance languages and sociology in Zurich, Berlin and at the Sorbonne. He worked as journalist, since 2001 primarily for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Following his graduation, he worked as author and director for a number of theatres, including the Staatsschauspiel Dresden, Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin and Theaterhaus Gessnerallee in Zurich. In 2007 he founded theatre and film production company The International Institute of Political Murder – IIPM. His productions, happenings and films (The Last Days of the Ceauşescus, The City of Change, and Breivik’s Explanation) were introduced at the Festival d´Avignon, Wiener Festwochen and Kunstenfestival Brussels. The Hate Radio production was guest performed at the Radikal Jung festival in Munich (the critics’ award for best director) and at the Theatertreffen in Berlin. Rau is considered one of the most controversial theatre directors of his generation: in Moscow police interfered during the performance of the Moscow Trials addressing the Pussy Riot trial. In addition to working for the stage and film, he lectures at universities about directing, culture sciences and social sculpture.


Materials available

Video of the production: yes
Script of the production: SK

If you are interested in these materials, write to archivy@nitrafest.sk