Syria play will be an eye-opener at West Yorkshire Playhouse

The cast of Queens of Syria features real-life Syrian refugee women.
The cast of Queens of Syria features real-life Syrian refugee women.
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A ground-breaking production featuring an all-female cast of Syrian refugees comes to the West Yorkshire Playhouse next month.

Queens of Syria, a modern adaptation of Euripedes’ anti-war tragedy The Trojan Women, will be performed in Leeds on Monday, July 18.

First staged in Amman in 2013, and the subject of an award-winning documentary, the show – announced at the start of national Refugee Week – features 13 Syrian refugee women, who amalgamate their own narratives of ferocious war and bitter exile with the ancient Greek text.

Acclaimed young director Zoe Lafferty will work with the cast. An associate of Palestine’s Freedom Theatre and a member of the Old Vic 12, Zoe’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 of Palestine, humanitarian crises in Lebanon and Haiti, and working at the heart of some of the most pressing issues in the UK.

Zoe 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.”

Cast member Khaula, who was involved in the original production, said: “We came into a new society, a new way of life.

“We were isolated. Doing this play helped us break the ice.

“We started to connect with others and make friends.

“It gave us the courage we needed to talk about our problems frankly and clearly. We feel that we can do something for Syria, and the Syrian people, by sending a message to the whole world.”

STILL HOPEFUL: Campaigners from Kirkstall Valley Development Trust at Abbey Milsl in Kirkstall. From left: Fiona Butler, Chris Hill, Paul Holdsworth and Adele Rae.

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