After selling out its week-long run at the Young Vic theatre, the UK tour of QUEENS OF SYRIA – Developing Artists and Refuge Productions’ adaptation of Euripides’ great anti-war tragedy – will culminate in a West End Gala Performance at the New London Theatre on Sunday 24 July.
First staged in Amman in 2013 and the subject of an award-winning documentary, Queens of Syria features 13 female Syrian refugees, who skilfully amalgamate their own narratives of ferocious war and bitter exile with the ancient Greek text. Opening at the Young Vic theatre in London from 5 – 9 July 2016 as part of Horizons, a season exploring the lives of refugees across all three of its stages, on film and through Taking Part projects in 2016-17, , the show will tour to the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford, the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex, Brighton, the Liverpool Everyman, as part of the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2016 (a 10 day festival increasing appreciation and awareness of Arab culture), the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds as part of their Open Season, and the Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh.
Acclaimed young director Zoe Lafferty will join the production to work with the cast. Associate of Palestine’s Freedom Theatre and member of the Old Vic 12, Lafferty’s work has focussed on current conflicts, political power imbalance and situations of human rights violations, and has taken her from wars in Afghanistan and Yemen, to the occupation in Palestine, humanitarian crises in Lebanon and Haiti, and working at the heart of some of the most pressing issues in the UK.
In 2012, Lafferty crossed secretly into Syria to uncover the personal stories from the uprising, speaking to protesters, soldiers, activists and citizens on both sides of the conflict. The resultant verbatim work, The Fear of Breathing, subsequently premiered at the Finborough Theatre.
Zoe Lafferty said, “I feel privileged to work on this production that directly voices the powerful story from women that have survived war and are currently refugees. This piece encompasses the many challenges they have faced whilst being a celebration of life, a declaration of hope and an exploration of the future.”
Queens of Syria comes to the UK for just three weeks. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the refugees themselves, and a revelatory experience for British audiences who will hear first-hand the harsh realities of life as a refugee.