Preview - Queen's of Syria
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) launches at the Everyman on Friday 15 July with a two-night run of Queens of Syria - a theatre piece created and performed by female Syrian refugees.
This year's LAAF will explore the theme Undocumented via a programme of work showcasing artists and stories typically unrepresented in western mainstream society. There will be exhibitions, performances and events across Liverpool from 15-24 July at venues including FACT and Bluecoat.
In Queen's of Syria, a group of 60 Syrian women, now refugees exiled in Jordan, worked on an adaptation of Euripides’ great anti-war tragedy The Trojan Women. A small group of these women will tour and perform in the UK for the first time. The piece of multimedia theatre sees the all-female cast amalgamate their own stories of ferocious war and bitter exile with the ancient Greek text.
Everyman & Playhouse Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz said of Queens of Syria: “The Queens of Syria is an extraordinary story told by extraordinary women that has something urgent to say about the world and the refugee crisis.”
Over at Bluecoat, comic play Love, Bombs & Apples is the latest work from award winning playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak (Baghdad Wedding, The Prophet). This one-man stand up show (performed by Asif Khan) features four vignettes told from the perspective of unrelated characters; a man facing life under occupation in Palestinian, a British Muslim jailed under suspicion of terrorism, a disenfranchised Bradford youth tempted by IS; and a young Jewish man torn between his pro-Palestinian activist girlfriend and his father. The stories are unified by Abdulrazzak’s deeply personal method of storytelling, humorous approach and political commentary.
At FACT, A day in the life of war features the screening of a documentary produced by a group of young people from Liverpool Arabic Centre, capturing how the under-reported conflict in Yemen, which since March 2015 has destroyed the country's infrastructure and led to a humanitarian disaster, is affecting the lives of people in Liverpool's Yemeni community. The documentary has been commissioned by Saferworld and produced with Optical Jukebox in response to a British Council commissioned project that enabled young peoplein Yemen to create their own short films revealing their experience of living in a conflict zone.
For Migrant Stories, a free event at Bluecoat, LAAF will team up with Liverpool Welcomes to give audiences the opportunity to hear people who have travelled from the Arab World, now living in Liverpool, share personal stories in their own words and recounting their own geographical, cultural and emotional journeys.
Other additions to the programme reveal more incredible stories from the Arab World. A discussion event focusing on Riad Sattouf’s novel The Arab of the Future, will explore his unforgettable story of a childhood spent in the shadow of two presidents Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Alasad of Syria. FACT will screen the internationally acclaimed independent documentary Speed Sisters, the story of the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East.