QUEENS OF SYRIA
Jordan & UK Tour (2016)
"I HAVE A SCREAM I HAVE TO LET OUT. I WANT THE WORLD TO HEAR IT"
A group of Syrian women, refugees living in exile in Jordan, created an extraordinary modern retelling of Euripides’ The Trojan Women.
On stage the women courageously explored parallels between the ancient Greek tragedy and the catastrophe of the Syrian Civil War. Their first-hand experience of a country in turmoil mirrored the Trojan women they portrayed, displaced and enslaved by war.
The production skilfully amalgamated the women's own narratives into the ancient text to create a powerful, extraordinary and unique piece of theatre.
This remarkable production, presented by Developing Artists and Refuge Productions premiered at the Young Vic Theatre in July 2016, following an extensive workshop process in Jordan, before embarking on a UK tour.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
This project started out in 2013 as a grassroots initiative in Jordan when Refuge Productions brought together sixty Syrian refugee women from all walks of life, under the direction of Omar Abusada, to adapt and perform an Arabic performance of Euripides classic anti-war tragedy, The Trojan Women, for their local community. The project was the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary, Queens of Syria.
Three years later, Developing Artists teamed up with Refuge Productions and the Young Vic to workshop a new production in Jordan that would then tour the UK. The project was directed by Zoe Lafferty.
Reading the original play, the Syrian participants were astonished with the parallels to their own real life experiences, and quickly identified with the female characters of the tragedy. Over several weeks of workshops and rehearsals in Jordan, the cast wove their own stories of exile, loss and suffering into the narrative, creating an extraordinary and unique piece of verbatim theatre that made headlines around the world when it opened as 'Queens of Syria' at the Young Vic in July 2016. These were not the voices of political commentators or journalists, but of ordinary women whose lives had been turned upside down by the turmoil of the Syrian conflict.
The sold-out production received widespread critical acclaim, and was accompanied by an extensive education programme, generously supported by the British Council. Queens of Syria toured to Oxford, Brighton, Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh and Durham, before culminating with a gala performance at the New London Theatre in the heart of the West End. The project was a life-changing opportunity for the women & an eye-opening experience for British audiences who heard, first hand, the harsh realities of life in exile.
The short documentary film, The World To Hear, directed by Charlotte Ginsbourg and produced by the Trojan Women Project with the support of Developing Artists, follows the women on their journey around the UK, and premiered in February 2018 at the Glasgow Film Festival.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL PROJECT REPORT HERE:
“THE MOST URGENT WORK ON THE LONDON STAGE”